This week’s Sunday Telegraph column: holiday photos21st May 2017
Right everyone, we need to talk holiday photos because I’ve noticed those pictures are starting up again. You know the ones. The pictures of people leaping into the air in improbable ways, feet kicked up behind them, or perhaps doing a star jump as if they were auditioning for Cirque du Soleil. On the beach, beside the pool. Springing up, apparently propelled by sheer joy at being away and not shuttling into work on a clammy, hermetically-sealed bus. They’re awfully bouncy, these people. If I thrust myself skywards I get a couple of inches off the ground before thundering back down like an industrial anvil, but some of these holidaying acrobats get whole metres. They must take jolly good cod liver oil.
So, holiday photo etiquette is the theme today. Because it’s not just jumping photos. If you’re going away, as some of you may be shortly for the bank holiday weekend, there are multiple photos that we now all take to document the process and to prove what exciting and varied lives we all lead. After all, if you go on holiday but do not post any photos on social media, does this mean you went away at all?
First up, the bad photos. The photos which we could all do without. I think we can agree that anybody who posts a photo online before even leaving the country should have their holiday privileges removed from them. A picture of a plane wing or a snap of a boarding pass with a glass of champagne near it, for instance. If this person is travelling in business class, you will be able to see their seat number in this photo. Don’t be fooled. It is in no way an accident that you can see they’re sitting in 3B. There will be some sort of smug caption underneath this photo – ‘Off to Ibiza!’ Possibly even that infantile word ‘holibobs.’ If Theresa May included a ban on this word in her manifesto I would definitely vote for her.
Also bad are those photos of legs that look like sausages. This was briefly amusing a few years ago. Stop trying to artfully arrange your legs on the sunbed for the most flattering angle. Have you ever considered reading a book? Not even a long book. Just a book. Or maybe a novella. Shall we start with a novella? That means ‘short book.’
Talking of bikini shots, last summer I fell pray to the idea that someone could take a photo of me diving gracefully into the sea from a boat off Sardinia. ‘Terrific,’ I thought. ‘I am going to look all thin and elongated and slip into the water as sleekly as an otter.’ And then my dad showed me the picture and it looked like an outtake from Free Willy, that bit at the end when he finally hurls himself over the wall to freedom. So what I’m thinking is: shall we just ban bikini photos?
This year, we could perhaps all make a concerted effort to take fewer sunset photos. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sunset. My phone gallery is 89 per cent sunset pictures. I’m just not sure there’s any need to take 34 identical photos of the multicoloured sky when, really, you should sit back, a glass of something in your hand, and enjoy it in real time.
The good news is that you are allowed to upload some photos on holiday. I quite dig a French market shot. Some saucisson. A French stallholder with a face as wrinkled as a raisin. A small child in a sun hat with ice cream dribbling down its chin. Lovely. But, in general, my message this week is let’s not get carried away on the photo front. Let’s keep it to one post a day. Let’s try and enjoy our time away without worrying about whether we’ve jumped high enough to impress everyone back home.