maandag 10 juli 2017

Selfiday (there's no holiday without a selfie)

It's early summer and time to start complaining. The holidays are coming and with it the surge of tourists. Those tourists that do not travel to a location because of seeing the cultural heritage, walking the natural landscape or tasting the local food and drink.

A famous Dutch national tv show, called "Holiday man, cosy hey", showed to those that prefer to stay at home the daily lives of holiday tourists. The holiday man, the anchor man, visits tourists that do fit the picture and put their sorry story on national broadcast. Just a few examples.

Why are you here? "Well, we meet our neighbours here, some family and people we met here in the past years". And how often do you come here? "Every year now, for fifteen years". So you know your way around? "Well, yeah, the booze comes comes from X, the burger and fries from Y". Oh, here I have a blank map of Europe (without country and city names), my dear. Would you be so kind to show us where we are right now? "Welllll, I'm not quite sure but I think here, because of the blue. That the sea, right?" She selects a point across the English Channel while residing in fact in Spain.

Local food? "Wanna have me poisoned? Tried it once and never again"! Local drinks? "Oh yeah, they serve Heineken and the like". Complaints about too much sun, too few entertainment, about the foreign language, about the (local) food.
Things are changing faster than we can imagine. Let's go back 25 to 50 years ago. 

Mother came back from holiday with presents from holiday life, puppets in country clothes, posters and tickets from train and ship, foreign coins. Father on the other hand produced a lot of photographs, about 36 up to 72 at max. These were printed (enlarged) no matter the quality by Kodak Labs. Or it were transparencies, to be viewed in a darkened room projected on a white screen (or a white bed sheet) with careful explanation by dad. Until everybody fell asleep.

Little changed until 2000 when electronic cameras were growing to a real alternative. It took five more years for the camera sensor in the big SLR (single lens reflex) to become as good in resolution as a 400ASA (now ISO) transparency. And the camera resolution grew and grew. Prices fell, image quality surged, capacity became limitless.

I remember the first time I followed a discussion on a Usenet News forum on capacity. It must be 2000-2005 when the first person asks 'What is the best solution to store my 2-weeks worth of holiday pictures?' and someone replies 'How many pictures?' The man replies 'Just over 2.000' and I fell stunned from my office chair. How are you ever going to view and review 2.000 pictures?

I switched to digital in 2005 when the quality of the APS-C sensor in a SLR became just equivalent to the 400ASA transparency.
And then, then came the smartphone. At first taking pictures of little more than shaky stamps but getting better and bigger by the year. We were back to the 70s when people did not care about the quality, as long as granddad was somewhere in the image. And mobile internet made sharing of your pictures even more attractive.

The latest of holiday hits is of course the holiday selfie and ussie. With the selfie stick as the ultimate ego-weapon.

In those early '70s I read the popular MAD Magazine, where a strip went as: "How was the European trip?" "Dunno, the pictures haven't been developed yet". Now, just a fraction away from 2020 it goes like this: "How was the European trip?" "Dunno, the selfies haven't downloaded yet". That finishes the selfiday.

Yes, more is not better.

[The tv programme is called "Vakantieman, gezellig he?" Gezellig is a non-translatable Dutch concept close to cosy.]

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