I found it difficult not to snigger at The Telegraph article about chefs wanting to ban smartphones and photography in their restaurants.
An example of a chef wanting to ban smartphones in his restaurant is Gilles Goujon (L’Auberge du Vieux Puits, 3 Michelin stars) because “If people take a photo and put it out on social media, it takes away the surprise”…”It takes away a little bit of my intellectual property too. Someone could copy me”… “Plus a photo taken on an average smartphone is rarely a great image. It doesn’t give the best impression of our work. It’s annoying.” So basically, it takes away the surprise, steals his intellectual property and doesn’t even do it to a level of quality to which he approves.
The first is maybe right, the second is wrong as he does not have intellectual property rights in his dishes to prevent photography, and the last bit was a bit whiny and reminded me of the strangest complaint “the food was awful and the portions too small”. But yes, I get it. His reputation is at stake and the amateurs are not helping by taking lousy pictures.
Is it just me? Maybe I have been looking at technology for too long? but haven’t we heard all these arguments before? “Cell phones should be banned on trains, buses etc” seems so 1995. Cameraphones need to be controlled seems so 1998. “Hipsters taking pictures of food are ruining our lives” is so 2009. (Cannot resist mentioning the comic Pictures of Hipsters Taking Pictures of Food).
Against those who want to ban the technology we have those who claim it is all beneficial. The photographs are marketing and show appreciation. The buzz will bring in more business etc. This may be true or not. Proof is not really what it’s all about. What surprises me a decade of technology later is the places where technology use is not allowed or the knee-jerk outrage and attempts to limit technology, like those mentioned in the article.
Sure there are situations where it is called for. For security and safety I will not use my phone where it may cause harm. I even turn my phone off on planes – there is no harm but the security theater demands it and other passengers may feel safer for it. But there are places where I cannot understand the no phone rule. Most annoying? Waiting in the long line for US passport control after a long plane ride and not being able to text and tweet my arrival. Sitting in other American government waiting rooms there are prominent no phone signs. In Sweden banks seem to be anti-phones and carry signs against them.
The phone is not a right, and even if it were private spaces can create rules against them. But the way in which we are conditioned today taking away our phones only increases our stress. Why are so many spaces still anti-phone?