2016 Grateful 35

Am just a tad gobsmacked at how gobsmacked I am that Germany has come up with the bright idea of putting traffic lights in the ground so that people on their phones might have a better chance of seeing them. How clever is that? And how sad.

phonelaneIMG_4357 (800x600)Smombie – a mutation of smartphone and zombie – is a new word used to describe the hordes of people who walk around on glued to their phones. A clever mutation. But so sad.

IMG_4418 (800x600)IMG_4358 (800x600)IMG_2265 (800x600)IMG_2267 (800x600)In China, there are pedestrian lanes for those using smartphones and those not using smartphones. Another clever reaction to how life is changing but again, a sad reflection of society today. And it has to be true. I read it all in the Guardian.

So much of what’s around us goes unseen. We’re glued to our screens. Phones, Kindles, Tablets. And while we’re busy staying in touch with our worlds, the world around us goes unnoticed.

IMG_4354 (600x800)Ages ago, someone somewhere commented on my thing for taking photographs. They said that I never really look at anything. Never really see it. Never really appreciate it. I argued at the time that my search for one great photograph meant that I looked at so much more, and noticed so much more, and saw so much more because I was always engaged with what was around me.

My photos may never win prizes. They’re often out of focus. I might look at them once and never again. I don’t print them. Or put them in albums. Or really share them, except in blogs. But in taking them, I see. My camera makes me look up. It makes me look around. It makes me pay attention. And I’d mucIMG_4355 (600x800)h prefer to be looking through a lens than looking at a phone.

And when I’m not looking at doors, or graffiti, I’m looking at shop signs. Particularly old-fashioned trade symbols that tell stories about what’s being made, when it started, who’s in residence. So much detail. So much missed.

I think I’ll keep looking up, and keep looking around, and be grateful when I don’t trip over or bump into someone. It definitely beats the alternative.