Microphones and Cameras, they change people.

One of the interesting things I heard about at PodCampOhio last weekend was in the session led by Robin Maiden. He talked about having tried to capture the stories pilot’s tell one another as a podcast, but found that somehow, when he put them in front of a microphone, the stories just weren’t the same. The microphone changed things.

I immediately thought of my experiences with photography, and understood exactly what he was saying. Being in front of a camera changes people. People I know who have the most sincere, expressive facial expressions, stiffen up into the most unnatural, and unhappy, looking model. I know that it’s nerves, and a good photographer/interviewer should do everything they can to lessen those nerves, but some people never get over them.

Or is it that they don’t want to get over them? I don’t know all that many people who enjoy having their photo taken, much less spending a significant amount of time doing a portrait session. (Hence the reason that as much as I would love to do more portrait work and gain experience, I’ve done one session) I wonder how many people love talking, but not being recorded. There’s definitely a difference, not unlike the difference between laughing and smiling with friends, and someone taking your photo. The act of it being recorded creates changes in behavior.

Of course, this truth creates interesting questions when it comes to living in a surveillance society. People act differently when they are aware of being recorded. If we become aware of the possibility of being recorded everywhere, will our behavior change, or will we accept it to the point where our behavior doesn’t change? I have my doubts about changing human nature. I tend to think it’s rather difficult, and I tend to think the You Tube generation is already seeing changes in behavior, because of the constant presence of video and photographic equipment. But that’s a topic for another time…

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