Camera bombing

Travelling alone brings with it some perils. I’d readied myself for many of them, but camera bombing I really wasn’t expecting. It’s a pretty much daily occurrence for me, which I have to grit my teeth and endure politely.

What is this phenomenon, you may be wondering. Well here’s how it goes. I’ll be minding my own business snapping photos of whatever site / attraction / oddity that has caught my attention. Then they’ll approach, I’ll see them coming and be powerless to do anything about it. It’s the dreaded well-meaning amateur photographer, keen to help me document my journey.

The problem is I’m not a fan of having my photo taken. How to stand, what to do with my arms? It all sends me into a tizz.

I realised pretty recently that I had hardly any photos of myself; I’m always the one behind the camera. There isn’t much evidence that I’ve been to any of the places I claim, well not much evidence of the kind you can find without being a forensic investigator.

So I decided this trip needed to be different. It needed documenting on camera. As a result I’ve rapidly become pretty adept at at ‘selfies’, photos I take off myself. And actually it’s solved a problem, there’s no need to worry about how to stand and what to do with my arms, because they’re out of shot.

This is prime time for camera bombers to strike. They’ll see me taking a photo of myself and they’ll pity me. They’ll think what I really want is a full length photo of myself, but I must be too timid to ask. They are more than happy to oblige as a stand-in friend to take the photo they believe I’ve been dreaming of.

As a result I have a collection of unpleasant photos from this trip. Pictures of me looking awkward and faking a smile (just) as they take multiple photos of me that I really don’t want. Never will these photos adorn mantlepiece (if in the future I live somewhere with a mantlepiece, that is). They will be condemned to digital heaven with all the rest of the deleted photos of the world, destined to never be seen again.

My recent trip to the Grand Canyon was an unprecedented camera bombing bonanza. I was struck an impressive four times. It was special for another reason too, for this time they had me moving various limbs to capture that extra special moment for me. One with two arms outstretched (for which I was repositioned when I failed to comply to their artistic demands appropriately). The other, which I share with you here, is the most peculiar. This budding artist wanted one curved arm in the air; I had to immigrate his demonstration of the pose.


And do you want to know a terrible secret? I’ve realised that I’m a camera bomber, only too keen to snap people when they least desire it. I’m sorry, world.