Do you want to be famous?

I’m in Hong Kong and my wife and Children are out here with me. When we walk on the streets with my daughter sitting on my shoulders many people stare and point. Over the weekend we went to a beach and people were pointing their camera and taking photos of her. None more so than the mainland Chinese in their coach parties. It’s not every day they see a blond three year old with a riot of curly blond hair. And it bothers me. Who are they to take pictures of my children. Some peope ask and I generally refuse. I begin to get a feel for what I might me like to be a celebrity. There is however, a lack of consistency in my approach. Why will I not let the Chinese tourists take photos, yet I post my own on Flickr for all the world to see? My rationale for Flickr is to let family members to see our pictures, but they are in the public domain.

We live in (the UK) a world where 1 in 7 teenagers wants to “be famous” when they grow up. Not “be rich” as is used to be – there was an implication of effort and graft in that statement, no-one got rich by doing nothing at all. But now it is possible to get rich by being talentless and doing nothing but being on a reality TV show. A sad state of affairs I feel. And anyway, who would want to be famous, to have random people pointing at you and sticking their camera phones in your face? I certainly didn’t like my brief experience of that.
But then I must wonder. With social networking is there an element of all of us wanting to become famous? I’m broadcasting to the world who I am via flickr, through my blog (and I watch how many subscribers I have and strive for a higher ranking within technorati). I look at google analytics to see who is visiting my site (Hello Hanoi, Singapore, Kuopio and Buffalo). I increase my professional network on Linkedin. Maybe I put my videos of myself on Youtube or MySpace. It is all about creating a personal cult of fame. Maybe I don’t like the TV version of it, but I think that on the web I’m hooked. I do want to be famous. Grrrrrrr.


  1. Carlos Villela · Tuesday, 6 February, 2007

    Not sure I understand the reasoning behind refusing to be photographed – it’s not like anyone’s stealing your precious photons, anyway. Could you elaborate on that a bit?

  2. marc · Tuesday, 6 February, 2007

    Good question. Three points come to mind, none of which specifically is my reasoning, more a combination of them…

    If someone came up to you on the street and asked to take your photograph, would you say yes? Would you question their motives?
    (OK, it depends, so maybe they are curious, they ask nicely, you get a good feel about them. you say yes. They are gruff and rude, you say no).

    What are they going to do with that photograph?

    Something about being British and a cultural hang-up about personal space?

    After a while it gets really tiresome having people ask / photograph you. I’m a tourist, not the attraction ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Harish Mallipeddi · Wednesday, 7 February, 2007

    Well actually I have seen lots of Westerners do the same thing in Asia. Whenever they see someone in colorful ethnic clothes, they normally don’t bother to ask and happily click pictures away or worse yet shoot videos with their handy-cams (and before you know the videos will be on Youtube). People normally don’t mind their picture taken by a harmless tourist but if a local guy does the same thing, they get alert because now it has to do with some motive. I guess the important point here is as long as one of the parties is foreign, it is considered to be acceptable to take a picture ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. kayleigh · Monday, 12 January, 2009

    Yes way I want to be famous because i can not imagine me with a normal job! i want the paps every ware i go, the press interviewing me all the time, people coming up to me in the street asking me for my autograph, i want to be known and i want to be famous, i want my own perfumes out and a reality T.V show, I want to go on Iโ€™m a celebrity get me out of here, I want a little Chihuahua, a big house in LA. And why? Because I donโ€™t want to be normal and waste my life in some dead end job trying to pay my rent a fight off money problems and I want to be able to support my family, friends and parents. I want to be able to do something with my life instead of waching others live my dream on the T.V and most of all I want to prove everyone who underestimates me that I can do it and I will.

  5. peyton · Saturday, 7 February, 2009


  6. AnonymousCoward · Tuesday, 8 September, 2009

    > What are they going to do with that photograph?
    Probably take it home and mastibate over it. Does this distrurb you. Did you did it disturb you when you were young when you took The Sun page three model picture home? Probably not. Chances are the above is not going to happen. Does it matter?.

    If you are in the public then you can have your photograph taken by anyone and they need not seek your permission. This applies to those under sixteen years of age. However, once the photographer attempts to use the image for commerical gain (other than a journalist) then permission has to be sought.

    What is wrong with snapping your image? Do we value our image too much? They are not snapping you; Its not voodoo. It a picture. Have you got the right to look at someone in the eye; Remember their face? Its the same thing.

    You can take my photograph when I am walking in public down the street and you don’t have to ask me, but I’ll always write anonymously on the web as this carries my thoughts. The picture might carry my smile.

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