August 17, 2010

The MyFace Age


El Matador State Beach in the far reaches of Malibu is likely the most photogenic beach in Los Angeles County. (In general, Southern California beaches aren't quite world class in aesthetics because the ocean off LA is a sort of grayish greenish blue, whereas the Mediterranean, say, is a much brighter blue. I've never understood why oceans differ in color. Aren't they all connected?)

I've been visiting El Matador every few years for about three decades. Usually, it was fairly empty except for a few strollers (swimming is dangerous due to all the rocks) and one or two professional photographers with assistants shooting fashion models. I went there with my mother in 1997, the year before she died, and we watched a whale the size of a school bus and a couple of dolphins feast on a school of fish just about 75-100 yards offshore.

On Sunday, I dropped by El Matador just before sunset, for the first time in a few years, and now it is wall-to-wall amateur models and photographers with huge telephoto lenses.

Perhaps I'm overgeneralizing from a small sample size, but I'm guessing that the spread of social media like MyFace has made getting your picture taken a much bigger to-do than it was just a decade ago.

39 comments:

Bill said...

Given the photos one usually sees on those social networking sites (usually they're not only tiny, but obviously taken with camera phones and the like), I'm not so sure that's the case.

My guess would be the proliferation of model reality shows, like "America's Next Top Model" and such. Those shows are very popular with young women. Exhibitionism has replaced modesty as a virtue in our society, and every girl wants to be a model. In fact, nude pictures circulating through networked cell phones have become a big problem in junior high schools, where the children presumably have not yet figured out the subtleties that distinguish "modeling" from pornography.

Anonymous said...

cheaper better cameras and photoshop means you too can airbrush yourself and look like a model

agnostic said...

For Millennials it seems like just the opposite -- when you're taking or uploading hundreds of pictures to Facebook, getting your picture taken is so trivial that they don't bother trying to make it look good.

Just pull your friends in with one arm, hold the camera far away and pointed at you with the other arm, make a bunch of annoying kabuki faces, and presto.

What you're thinking of is the middle school and high school yearbook picture. Now *that* was something that people planned out long in advance, kept primping themselves while waiting in line, etc.

nonsense said...

and now it is wall-to-wall amateur models and photographers with huge telephoto lenses

I'm assuming they weren't nude.

Sigh said...

What's the point of this post?

Models having their photos taken in exotic locations was around for most of the 20th Century, a natural off-shoot of the centuries-long tradition of portaiture art, which commonly painted in wide vistas behind the subject.

Photography on social networks is usually taken with cellphones, so unless you're implying some underlying narcissism(and if you are, it's pretty weak), I don't see the connection.

What I'm guessing happened here is:

-Steve sees some untouchable hot young babes at the beach getting their pictures taken. They, of course, didn't even acknowledge that he exists, seeing as they only had eyes for the camera.

-Whiskey style, he has to turn the miffed feeling he experienced into some sort of pithy observation about social change.

Anonymous said...

"In general, Southern California beaches aren't quite world class in aesthetics because the ocean off LA is a sort of grayish greenish blue, whereas the Mediterranean, say, is a much brighter blue. I've never understood why oceans differ in color."

Oceans reflect the color of the sky, and the grayish caste of the Pacific as seen from SoCal beaches is due to the ambient smog. Also, high levels of coastal water pollution cause algal blooms which frequently tint the water a brownish red.

I'm a big Rockford Files fan so my favorite SoCal beach is the secluded but otherwise unremarkable Paradise Cove in Malibu. It's a shame the Sandcastle restaurant changed owners -- it kind of sucks, now.

Anonymous said...

A lot of it is how much algae is in the water, and that depends on whether the nutrients are there for the algae. The clear Caribbean waters are generally low-nutrient ('an ocean desert') the waters off the northeast coast are far higher, thus you have the huge fisheries there. Dave Schutz

OhioStater said...

Yeah, photo sharing is huge at Facebook. Of course the main reason to travel is to showcase your exquisite tastes, and Facebook is the main medium of communication between friends and acquaintances. What better than to take a photo in front of a landmark?!

Adam said...

Ocean color is mostly blue because it reflects the sky, but varies because of the plankton in the surface layers of a body of water. Plankton populations vary with temperature currents, etc. Pure water looks very dark blue.

Svigor said...

I've never understood why oceans differ in color. Aren't they all connected?

I tried to G**gle my way to answers on that once myself. I think it comes down to water temperature, depth (warmer water), maybe salinity, and how much crud the nearby rivers are dumping, but I'm probably forgetting something.

Pangur said...

You also went on a Sunday, on a weekend when the weather is finally starting to look like summer. If you go to El Matador or the surrounding beaches during the week, different story.

As for your point, I draw the opposite conclusion: namely that the easier it is to have your picture taken, the more common is the experience, and thus the less valuable it is.

Severn said...

Digital cameras have made a big difference. It used to be that taking quality photographs required somebody with rare skills. These days anybody can do it.

Christopher Paul said...

MyFace? Never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

Different oceans and seas have different amounts of nutrients, sediment, and flora/fauna.

Anthony said...

Another factor is the drop in price of taking professional-quality pictures. A really good DSLR is under $1000, and pictures are *free*. Back in the days when high-quality photos meant film, one could pay 10c to $1 per shot for film and processing - even at just to make contact sheets. Nowadays, the marginal cost of an extra shot is a few seconds of your time at the computer. I have friends who take *thousands* of shots at one-day or even four-hour events. You couldn't even reload your camera that fast, much less pay for all that film, before digital.

Wade Nichols said...

In general, Southern California beaches aren't quite world class in aesthetics because the ocean off LA is a sort of grayish greenish blue, whereas the Mediterranean, say, is a much brighter blue. I've never understood why oceans differ in color. Aren't they all connected?

I saw this today at National Geographic:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/
08/081013-ocean-color-hurricanes-environment-weather-science-global-warming/

"One way to make the models more realistic is to look more closely at little-studied variables, such as ocean color.

In the North Pacific the predominant color is green, thanks to an abundance of minute, chlorophyll-packed plants called phytoplankton."


Perhaps the Mediterranean is lacking in phytoplankton??

OneSTDV said...

Myspace is soo 2007 (or 2008, I'm not really sure when everyone stopped using it).

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Devil's Elbow in Oregon:
http://www.photoseek.com/06CO_580-Devils-Elbow-SP.jpg

Anonymous said...

Actually, this picture of Devil's Elbow is more similar:

http://www.photoseek.com/08ORC-663.jpg

Anonymous said...

because the ocean off LA is a sort of grayish greenish blue

I think you mean the atmosphere.

Albertosaurus

Steve Sailer said...

"My guess would be the proliferation of model reality shows, like "America's Next Top Model" and such. Those shows are very popular with young women. Exhibitionism has replaced modesty as a virtue in our society, and every girl wants to be a model."

Yup, that makes sense.

Dahlia said...

Sigh said:
Steve sees some untouchable hot young babes at the beach getting their pictures taken. They, of course, didn't even acknowledge that he exists, seeing as they only had eyes for the camera.

-Whiskey style, he has to turn the miffed feeling he experienced into some sort of pithy observation about social change.
----
This was quite unfair. There are lots of guys in this part of the internet you could say that about, but Steve isn't one of them. He is long married with two sons. Also, the vast majority of those guys are about having lots of extramarital sex with hot babes before losing them and settling down to play Patriarch. Or wish they had done this. I don't pick up such prurience or sense of entitlement at all from Steve in all my years of reading him.

headache said...

I second Dahlia.

Kylie said...

Sigh said..."What's the point of this post?...
What I'm guessing happened here is:

-Steve sees some untouchable hot young babes at the beach getting their pictures taken. They, of course, didn't even acknowledge that he exists, seeing as they only had eyes for the camera.

-Whiskey style, he has to turn the miffed feeling he experienced into some sort of pithy observation about social change."

What's the point of this comment?

I'm sure when Steve see some untouchable hot babes getting their picture taken, he's not miffed at all when they don't acknowledge his existence. Girls like that are often so narcissistic that their failure or refusal to see those around them simply can't be taken seriously or personally. And if they do catch a man's eye, it's usually only so they can see their own reflection in it. I suspect this is not news to Steve (though it may be to you).

What I'm guessing happened here is that you, under some other username, made a right ass of yourself here and you're using this lame pretext for pouncing on Steve publicly to regain your amour-propre.

Feel better now?

agnostic said...

"Steve sees some untouchable hot young babes at the beach getting their pictures taken. They, of course, didn't even acknowledge that he exists, seeing as they only had eyes for the camera."

Project much?

And choose a less drama-queeny name than "Sigh."

Nanonymous said...

I've never understood why oceans differ in color. Aren't they all connected?

Because different oceans typically contain different races of organisms. Even if they are connected. :-)

Jacker Crack said...

The color of the ocean off Malibu: 3 words - Giant Kelp Forest

And the crowds of photogs at one particular beach probably is caused by the internet, but not just MyFace - it's because anyone can go online and easily find out where the best (and formerly secluded) photography beach is.

Anonymous said...

I coined the term 'MySpace Pout'. Unfortunately no-one else uses it.

You've all seen it, teenage girl takes picture of herself in bathroom/wardrobe mirror with crappy phone camera, while trying to look 'sexy'. Sometimes it even works. Often it doesnt.

Anonymous said...

Sigh- please don't pontificate if you're neither funny nor interesting- it's embarrassing for you


Dan in Dc

Anonymous said...

And choose a less drama-queeny name than "Sigh."

Exactly- that sounds super queer


WTF is Myface though- I want in....when is the IPO?


Dan in Dc

Frog One said...

The only time I've ever noticed Steve being "miffed" is when the dicussion involves recreational drug users and sellers.

Anonymous said...

***(In general, Southern California beaches aren't quite world class in aesthetics because the ocean off LA is a sort of grayish greenish blue, whereas the Mediterranean, say, is a much brighter blue. I've never understood why oceans differ in color. Aren't they all connected?)***

I've never understood why humans differ in appearance, intelligence, behavior, etc. Aren't humans capable of interbreeding?

MQ said...

This would be a good thread for everybody to provide a link to their photo. I'd like to see Whiskey's...I suspect there'd be some reason why he can't seem to pull in the babes. Besides being so nice, I mean.

Mil-Tech Bard said...

Steve,

It is a wider cultural change keyed to enabling narrcisism.

I have not been to a west coast swing dance event in the last three years where my picture hasn't been taken at least once and posted on Face Book or Myspace by someone else.

i'll admit people who couple dance publicly are automatically selected for showing off.

Yet the west coast swing dance crowd, over all, has a median age in the late 30's.

The emergence of cheap digital cameras that can photograph movement well in low light levels seems to be the key here.

Anonymous said...

"I've never understood why humans differ in appearance, intelligence, behavior, etc. Aren't humans capable of interbreeding?"

Whereas genes producing intelligent, attractive, robustly healthy, and long lived humans are rare, genes which produce dumpy, dull witted, disease impaired, short-lived humans are common. In the world of breeding it's a free market resulting in a few with the lion's share of genetic resources.

David said...

The narcissism rampant among the booboisie plays into the hands of the owners and genuine customers of the social networking sites.

At such sites the narcissists post their snaps and spill their guts free of charge. They reveal everything about themselves to anyone with sharp eyes, voluntarily. When the roundups begin, the authoritarians will have a much easier job bagging their "tagged" cattle. Their victims will have mindlessly done most of the work for them.

The largest social networking site, Facebook, is probably Total Information Awareness by another means. Interesting video.

But - say you - FB has security filters. Sure. Zukerman et al. have zero interest in the data about you they're gathering, and have no higher priority than protecting you.

People should steer clear of social networking sites, and even make sure at least 90% of the personal info they post here and elsewhere, if any, is from a "composite" character. Don't make it too easy for any GPU wannabes in (harrumph) our government.

Mike said...

Is "MyFace" a deliberate nod to the cluelessness of people of a certain age of the names of social networking sites or an example of it?
El Matador always has a few people taking photos but "wall to wall" is unusual. It's usually around two while the sun is setting.

David said...

>Is "MyFace" a deliberate nod to the cluelessness of people of a certain age of the names of social networking sites or an example of it?<

It's a combination of "MySpace" and "Facebook" cleverly emphasizing the narcissism Steve probably sees in them: "MyFace" = "My Face." Get it?

David Davenport said...

Oceans reflect the color of the sky, and the grayish caste of the Pacific as seen from SoCal beaches is due to the ambient smog.

Nope, most of the time there's a prevailing breeze blowing inland along the SoCal coast. Visually, the air along the beach and offshore is pretty clear, when it's not foggy. ( Fog -- not the same as smog. )

Beach weather there is not as sunny as one might think from watching movies and TV shows set in LA or San Diego.

I suppose a slight fog or natural haze in the air might make the sea surface look gray.

Furthermore, I remember SCUBA diving off Catalina and some of the other coastal islands circa 1965-80, and the water seemed pretty clear. How does it compare to the underwater view in the Carib/ or Med. Seas? Dunno, never been SCUBA diving there.