Give Us Your Point of View

In pre-internet days, when you wanted to book a vacation, your first stop was the travel agency. They showed you a brochure, gave you all the details, and sent you back home. There, you mulled over what you knew and no more than a handful of pictures of the location. Then, you decided — and that’s why vacations were always hit or miss. One year, you’d end up in a great resort with plenty of cool spots and amenities to discover, another it was dirty bathroom tiles and soggy rolls for breakfast. The surprise factor was cool when it worked but devastating when it didn’t.

Nowadays, even the thought of booking a hotel based on five stock photos seems laughable. You can view every nook and cranny of the place on their website, often with a 3D video tour, and that is to say nothing of the thousands of photos on Google and Instagram. In fact, you can even see where you’re going through someone else’s eyes — and that has already become our default mode of deciding. You might pull the trigger on a trip to Santorini based on an in-depth review on Google, your favorite influencer having made landfall there just hours ago, or, and this is probably the most likely, a friend or relative sending you the pics from their latest trip.

When you returned home in 1995, getting physical copies of your photographs took a while. You just had to use your words to retell your adventures — and perhaps the same five stock photos from the brochure. Nowadays, even among the older members in our family WhatsApp group, everyone sends their own pictures. No one uses stock photos to show and tell anymore. But why? The photos from the website are arguably better. None of us are photography experts. “What a waste that millions of people take the same pictures of the same places,” one might think. But they’re never quite the same, are they? Our pictures tell a story the stock photos can never tell: What it was like, in that exact moment, to be there with our unique point of view. As friends, family members, partners, and colleagues, that’s the story we want to hear — not the one Hilton tells about its own hotels.

In the 21st century, telling that story, your story, is no longer optional. Your point of view is required. It is also very much appreciated, and this applies to far more than just vacations. Photos, voice messages, tweets — these are all just tools. The media through which we express our perspective. Some people share their POV professionally, and if their taste becomes refined enough, they might be able to make a living at it. Even when the connection is just personal, however, a highlight reel of travel pics taken by your own hand is much more compelling than an outsourced recommendation. What’s more likely to get you to dust off your mountain bike — a video filmed by your friend with his helmet camera, or a text that says, “just go check out Lukas Knopf on Instagram”?

The barriers to entry for telling stories, visual or otherwise, have been lowered so much, we have no excuses left not to participate. Be it in our private lives or at work, making a convincing case for anything. now necessitates sprinkling in at least a little bit of your unique point of view. Don’t shun this responsibility. Embrace it. Enjoy it. You don’t have to be a content creator around the clock if you don’t want to, but for the pitches in life we care about, it is worth it — and easier than ever — to add the touches only we can add.

Whether in a printed album or somewhere lost in the depths of your phone, the photos you’re not in aren’t the ones that matter the most, but they still tell a story only you can narrate — and you never know when a good tale will come in handy. Take pictures. Take notes. And if not always unsolicitedly, at least when we ask for it, give us your point of view.