Disengaged or Decisive Moment?

Published 2013-12-24, by John

(I originally posted this on Facebook, but felt it made a good posting here on my blog as well.)

I just watched the Apple “Misunderstood” ad for the first time. Very touching.

Interestingly, Facebook then suggested Forbes’ article critical of the ad.

While I agree with the general statement that smartphone users seem to be more engaged with their digital lives than their real lives, I actually disagree with the Forbes article on this one.

Apple’s ad isn’t the same as what I’ll call the “immersed and ignorant” life-via-smartphone video that was floating around earlier this year. That video indeed skewered those of us who oftentimes disengage from real-life conversation to drop into virtual conversation. Apple’s ad still shows the main character engaged in life around him, just quietly watching for and recording “decisive moments” in the life of his family that he obviously loves.

The latter point I think is the key differentiator here, in my opinion: what the character in the ad has done is similar to what Cartier-Bresson, Capa, and any other photojournalist has done–watching life through a lens *while* being part of that life. Who would argue that HCB didn’t bring humanity and character out of street photography and personal portraits? Who would argue that Capa wasn’t a part of the same wars he captured as he moved with Normandy beach raiders and Spanish rebels? Many a photojournalist has lost his life living the decisive moment behind a lens.

Thoughts? Opinions?