A few weeks ago my daughter Lauren came to Richmond to visit. I know she wanted to see me but the big attraction was an Andrew Bird concert at Toad’s Place. Lauren is a big Andrew Bird fan and had always lamented the fact that Bird didn’t venture into the New York area. She was psyched to see the concert and told me that, once he took the stage she would be right down in front. The above pictures will give you a good idea how close she was to the stage.
I chose to remain a little away from the crush of the stage and wasn’t able to see where Lauren was. Scanning the crowd in front of me, other than dark, indistinguishable outlines of people’s heads, all I could see was the glow from the LCD screens of digital cameras and mobile phones. It occurred to me that I might be able to spot her if I could identify the LCD from her camera. A bit of a stretch I know but it got me looking at the wide variety of glowing LCD screens arrayed between myself and the stage.
I was, however, facinated by the images I saw on other people’s LCDs. It was like looking through other people’s eyes. I would look at the image on someone’s cell phone and think “wow that’s not what I would be looking at”. It was different than looking at professional photos and it was different from viewing the concert on television. The professional photographer and the TV cameraman are recording events like these with an eye towards capturing a total experience. They have an audience in mind as they record what they see in front of them.
Andrew Bird fans were primarily interested in capturing the concert from a personal perspective. For them it was just as important to include clues as to where they were standing as it was to show what was going on on the stage. Look at the image my daughter captured of Bird’s mismatched, rainbow socks. That picture memorializes a personal recollection. While I think it’s a nifty picture, it represents her view of the concert, not mine. It is a snapshot that tells as much about where she was standing during the concert as it does about the stage show.