A recent news report told the story of 3 young Vloggers (I guess that means video bloggers) who decided that climbing to the top of a waterfall in British Columbia and recording from the edge would be a good thing. In a tragic accident, all three died.
It seems you can develop a huge following and make a lot of money by throwing risk to the wind, going where or doing what you shouldn’t and recording your exploits. Post the experience and you are almost guaranteed a following. And in this modern world, the interest is instant, with the post potentially spreading worldwide in minutes. Instant stats on views and likes encourage the next big trick, the next even more daring stunt.
We all do things we shouldn’t when we are young. Some seek more thrills than others. Some try it simply to say they could. I could comment on how stupid this particular situation was, but I won’t, even if it was. I’ll leave the commentary to their families and friends.
What bothers me more is the way the world seems to see these folks. We make them heroes, we idolize them, we encourage them to do more. Even more troubling is how we do it: by exercising our social media fingers and sharing, subscribing and liking. Do you see the irony here? We sit our butts down in a comfortable chair and tell them with our likes to go climb to the edge. Why? Because we inherently know it’s stupid – but as long as someone else is doing it, we might as well watch.
I’ve done my share of marginally risky things to get a shot – mostly risking damage to my camera rather than to myself – but even so. I’ve come to realize though that there are lots of other ways to be different, to demonstrate commitment and grit and to give the world something unique. Maybe that’s just because I’m older, but I think it’s more that common sense kicked in.
So how can you be different? The wildlife photographer that spends 3 weeks in a blind waiting for the perfect moment; the landscape photographer that scouts out the entire rim of a canyon to determine the perfect place to catch the sunrise, the macro photographer that spends a day setting up a mini-ecosystem just to ensure their subjects behave naturally during the shoot. I frankly hold them in higher regard than someone who pushes the edge (literally) of safety.
We’ve got to stop paying homage to these people and making them rich. With all of the heart-wrenching causes in the world, and with all the fabulous good done in the shadows to address these meaningful causes, it is a shame that this stuff is what gets the airtime, the views and, sadly, the money.