In which Gill Booles finds that people are free and easy with their image, but if you try and quote them they turn a little peculiar.

Indians believed that photographing could steal a person’s soul.

Today, almost no thought is given to ask for permission to take our image. We’re constantly captured. In fact that’s what’s being encouraged, always be capturing – take photos, video the speaker, and share on social media. You sign up for a morning networking group, and there you are tagged on Facebook shown stifling a yawn next to the breakfast pastries.

Doing business seems to be about being seen to do business. Business leaders are happy to post videos, record webinars, upload photos and stream events live.

But try and get them for a print piece and it’s a different story. They come over all bashful. Even when they get to see the piece before publication – given full control, unlike their image posted in real time to a million people on Twitter.

Double standard

The double standard was brought home to me this week, when I finally got hold of an interviewee after days of my calls being screened, and not returned. Remember, dear reader, he put himself forward – no arms were twisted in the making of the article.

My interviewee began by backtracking, suggesting he didn’t actually have much to say (he knew a lot about the subject, in fact the relevant professional body had also suggested I speak to him as an expert). The interview went ahead, during which I learnt he had been on Sky discussing the same issue. What was that all about? Here’s a man happy to be interviewed live, and at length, on a national news programme broadcast to millions, but reluctant to be quoted in one article in a publication sent to a fraction of the people.

Do people feel more accountable in print? It seems to be taken more seriously and given considered thought, despite the publication’s limited life. Images will continue to be available online long after the publication becomes landfill. Yet, the prevalence of images normalises what we’re happy with – take our image, do with it what you want but don’t quote me.

A picture paints a thousand words

They say a picture paints a thousand words. I’d say the artist was probably a writer who’d given up trying to get those words and gone for the easy option. But what do you think?