Celebrity Interactions In the Modern Age

This weekend, I happened upon this gem of a video clip, starring Kirsten Dunst.

ASPIRATIONAL from Matthew Frost on Vimeo.

I studied aboard in London during the summer of 2004. Being a major hub for Europe, most major films would hold premieres in Piccadilly Square, not far from where I lived. My fellow students and I would head straight from our internships to the big theaters, pushing to get spots along the barriers so we could see our favorite stars. It was a good summer for movies. Spiderman 2 was released, as was King Arthur—all starring some of my favorite actors at the time (including Kirsten Dunst).

movie premiereThis was a time before smartphones, before unlimited data and texting. None of my fellow American students had brought cellphones with them. We relied on good old meet-up spots and watches to coordinate activities, and actual cameras to take photos. At the time, we attended these premieres not to be seen, but to see. I can still remember the rush of excitement from standing less than a foot away from Kiera Knightly, and the blush upon my cheeks as Tobey Maguire smiled at my loudly yelling friend. My friends and I weren’t the autograph types—we were logistic hounds, curious more about the hum and whir of the Hollywood machine behind closed doors, and what these celebrities were like when the cameras weren’t around.

Now we live in the age of the selfie. As shown by Kirsten Dunst’s short clip, our culture is more about being seen than seeing. Celebrity interactions aren’t moments of fan fare, more opportunities to display your own awesomeness.  “Look at my fantastic, exciting life—aren’t you jealous?” We don’t witness celebrity…we harvest it.

But it goes beyond these rare moments of running across a celebrity and snapping a selfie. This type of mentality pervades my Facebook feed everyday. Pictures of elaborate restaurant dinners, selfies of drinking coffee in workout clothes, shot after shot of folks on hiking trails (but not the trails themselves). My husband and I are notorious for our rampant couple selfies, to the point a friend asked us to take more pictures of what we were doing instead of each other on a recent vacation.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to chronicle the special moments in your life. Without these pictures, I wouldn’t feel connected to my RV-ing parents or my Tennessee-based sisters. I guess I would challenge myself and others to ask yourself why before posting an image. I’ve been doing this a lot lately and found I take less photos with me in them, and more photos of what’s happening around me, hoping to spark a conversation and have a shared moment.

Image Credit: micadew via Flickr

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