There was a car on fire at the mall today, right outside of the Barnes&Noble I was in. You don’t see cars on fire all the time, at least I don’t so I had an extended peek. The police had already cordoned off some area (apparently, the police are never far…), but it took quit a while for the fire fighters to arrive. Regardless, with the car very close to the store, it was easy to see and somewhat impressive, and I noted people taking photographs with their phones. “If I had a camera,” I thought, before realizing that I actually had one, my RX100 (which I almost always carry). So I started taking pictures, while wondering why exactly I was doing that. There is something compulsive about the act of looking at such an event, and photographing it might just be the natural consequence. But the photographing really is not so much about the images - photography in this still early 21st Century might have finally reached a point where the act of photographing, the gesture, has become almost detached from the photographs themselves (it might take theorists, especially in the US, where Susan Sontag’s influence is still strong, decades to comprehend this).
Update (31 Dec 2012): An expanded version of this piece can be found here.