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The Dangers of Getting the Perfect Shot
Do you fancy yourself an Instagram ninja? Are you always on the lookout for the perfect shot and editing your pictures to make them stand out? How far would you go to snap a perfect picture? In a world dominated by online sharing, people are going to great lengths to get a picture; unfortunately, it can cause injury and even their life.
Twitter called 2014 “the year of the selfie,” it topped their trends list. The phrase “selfie” had been used more than 92 million times in tweets throughout the year, a 500% increase from the year before according to the company.
While you may think of a selfie as a cute front group shot with your pals at dinner, many people took it to the next level with tragic consequences. In 2014, 15 people died while taking a selfie; that number jumped to 39 in 2015 and spiked to 73 deaths in the first eight months of 2016.
While the selfie fad may be fading, seeking the perfectly framed photo never will. Travel blogs have exploded onto the scene. Instagram and YouTube provide platforms where these talented photographers can share their adventures that they’ve captured on camera.
A group of Vancouver based travel bloggers formed High On Life. They amassed 1.1 million followers on Instagram and 502,000 subscribers on YouTube. The group says on their YouTube page that their goal is to “inspire our viewers to get out and explore the world.” Unfortunately, the group recently fell into the category of giving up their life for possibly shooting photos.
The group made the news two years ago for the wrong reasons. They left the boardwalk at the famed Yellowstone National Park to venture into a protected hot spring to shoot pictures of the tie-dyed-looking sensitive ecosystem.
After posting photos online, the U.S. further investigated, charging them with violations that took place at Zion, Death Valley and Mesa Verde national parks, as well. Two members of the group were sentenced to seven days in jail and ordered to pay more than $2,000 in fines, restitution and community service payments. They were given five years probation and ordered to remove the images from their social media.
Another member plead guilty to disorderly conduct in Yellowstone. He was ordered to pay $3,500 in fines. All five members of the group were banned from entering public land managed by the U.S. Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army for a period of five years.
Three members of the group, Ryker Gamble, Alexey Lyakh and Megan Scraper passed away on July 3, 2018, after an accident at Shannon Falls near Squamish, B.C.
According to CBC, witnesses said they saw Scraper slip and fall from the rocks at the top of the falls into the rough current. Gamble and Lyakh jumped in to attempt to save her. Cpl. Sascha Banks told CTV, “They went into one of the pool systems that’s up there to go swimming, and three of them were walking along the edge of where the pool would be and at that stage, they slipped and fell.”
According to officials, the fall is the equivalent of ten stories. The coroner is investigating whether they were shooting a video when the accident happened.
While tributes have poured in for the trio, Media Mediated Reality’s Jesse Miller, a media educator shared a message about learning from the tragedy with CTV, “Young people might look at something they see on YouTube and say, ‘I can make that video, so I’m going to go out and do this high-risk behaviour, document it and see if I can garner an audience and have it go viral.'”
“But the reality is any time you have stories like this there are learning opportunities, there are conversations that need to happen.”
Miller said people have always engaged in risky behaviour, but now a potential audience of millions is added encouragement. Incidents such as what happened near Shannon Falls are opportunities to discuss the possible consequences.
“When it comes down to safety… it not only impacts you. It also impacts your friends and the community. At the same time, if you need to be rescued, the people who volunteer their time, who serve communities, who come and rescue anybody no matter where they are, they put their lives in danger to get to you.”
Do you know someone who goes too far to get the shot? Be sure to share this article with them.