This past Sunday my daughter and I were having a conversation about the state of technology. She asked me my opinion about the fact that technology has connected the world more ways than ever before, yet that same technology has us more disconnected than ever before. (She’s rather deep for a 17-year-old). I commented that I totally agree with that sentiment. It’s one of the things I learned when I disconnected from my mobile device over a year ago by canceling my iPhone plan. She commented how she thought it’s a good thing that friends can stay connected and “talk” to each other via mobile devices, even if they don’t live in the same city anymore. I retorted that by doing that, you miss out on opportunities to connect with potential new friends sitting right next to you.
My point was made perfectly later that same day while waiting for my oil change. A mother and daughter were seated in a leather love seat in the waiting room, each buried in their respective iPhones, undoubtedly tweeting, checking Facebook and/or checking email. I called my daughter in to show her and she just smiled.
Where is Zack Arias when you need him?
Zack’s #de_VICE Personal Project
This week I conclude my “personal project” theme with a review of Zack Arias’ #de_VICE personal project. Zack’s project started on a whim. He was taking street photos in New York when he saw a girl lost in her iPhone. He took the photo, turned around then saw another person lost in their mobile device. Then another. That started what became an ongoing project that became so popular, it was eventually picked up by CNN’s blog. (Yowza!)
There are three things I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about this project?
- The Simplicity. You don’t have to be a Zack Arias-caliber photographer to do a project like this. Ironically, this is a project you could do on your iPhone. (As long as your’re not buried in it like the subjects in these photos).
- The Variety. There is no shortage of subject material for a project like this. Everywhere you look you can find people disconnected from the world around them. Even in the waiting room of a Diamond Lube & Spa.
- The Message. But perhaps my favorite aspect of this personal project is that there’s a message. It’s a beautifully simple yet poignant look at our society and a social commentary on what we hold valuable in our world today. I can’t help but think about the denizens of Axiom, the mothership in the Pixar film “Wall-E.” Floating around on their mobile lounge chairs, completely disconnected from their surroundings and even their loved ones. Are we headed for such a fate?
Shoot from the Heart
So there you have it. Three personal projects this week from filmmakers and photographers, each garnering massive acclaim, not because they tried to become viral, but because they were authentic, passion projects from the heart. So go out, shoot from your heart. Whether or not your video gets 2 million views in a week, or whether or not your photography is picked up by CNN, just go out and do something personal. Improve your craft. Follow your calling. Make an impact on the world. If you do that, you’ll be surprised at what may happen.