BY ELENA VALDEZ
In the light of tragedy, a place of remembrance and honor will be curated more often than not. As survivors and passerbys visit each site to pay their respects, photos are taken to be posted online. The public demands media coverage for these things, and within that is the need for photography. However, a selfie is not included in this often sensitive, powerful collection of photography.
Mitchell claims she was just a teenager and didn’t mean any harm. Despite her meaning no harm, the lack of consideration for the lives lost in the camp and the multiple motives people could devise from her post obviously did not cross her mind.
While pictures of the actual memorial itself and the flowers, candles, pictures, signs and more do not cross the line of disrespect, a selfie does. Although one might mean well, it takes away from the intended purpose of these memorials – which is to focus on those who lost their lives.
Taking a selfie in front of a memorial implies that the fact someone went to lay down some flowers and say a prayer is more important than the catastrophe that preceded the making of the memorial in the first place. People who take selfies at these places look not only ignorant, but also selfish.
It is common sense that this is utter disrespect. Memorials are a place of quiet contemplation, brought about by grief and tragedy – it is not a place to put on a smile and snap a picture. And in some special cases, the memorials themselves are the site of the horrific event that inspired it. If visiting a sorrowful place like that, the least that can be done is to put the phone down for a couple of minutes and pay respects.
Maybe photography is a way to cope with these awful things, but there are better shots to take than those of one’s face. No one wants so see someone smiling in a place where far more have cried. Imagine losing someone and then seeing people posing with grins on their faces.
Capturing that moment in time respectfully does not require selfies next to someone’s grave or memorial.
A simple photo of the statues or rows of names can preserve the memory of the memorial better than a selfie. People have died and lives have been forever changed and it is important to keep this in mind whilst visiting such a somber place.
Photo courtesy of Snapchat ™