I admit this morning to being distracted. In front of my office at this moment there is a giant backhoe, digging out random sections of Geneva Street. The bucket first swipes into the earth, pulling up the old street and the shoddy base, into the gravel and then the black dirt. The operator is smooth with this bucket, and he cautiously digs, pivots, and dumps the newly destroyed rubble into a waiting dump truck. This has been going on in this particular hole for the entire morning. I try to look away but I can’t, the hypnotic ease of this demolition keeps interrupting my view. I hope the natural gas lines are clearly marked, otherwise this will be my last entry.
But every morning I’m distracted, so this isn’t some sort of new occurrence. I’m not distracted when I drive my kids to school, when they either fight loudly or sit quietly, awaiting their daily dose of learning. I’m not distracted when I first sit in this chair and pull it up to this wooden desk. I turn on the computer without any trouble, and every morning after scrolling through emails, I check on the MLS. I look to see what lakefront homes may have been listed. I check out the condos. I look for some land. I look because I need to know what’s happening at every moment of every day. This is when I get distracted.
The images that greet me each morning are getting frightfully cartoonish. The art of real estate photography has come a long way in the last 10 years. Back then, we just took some pictures, loaded them onto a computer, and then loaded them into the MLS. This wasn’t ideal but it worked, and it worked efficiently for quite a long time. Today, the good Realtors (like this one) pay photographers to take pictures for them, knowing that it is in the best interests of our clients to outsource this important task.
The hiring of outside photographers is not the distraction, rather what happens to those innocent photos once they’re loaded into the computer creates my morning discomfort. It’s bad enough that someone, somewhere, thought that what everyone really wants to see is a distorted fish-eye, drone shot photograph of a house. This phenomenon is getting more popular, as agents race to prove that they’re technologically advanced. If I were marketing a 40 acre property and needed to show the width and astounding depth of that parcel, I may entertain the use of drone photography. But it’s getting a bit excessive and odd when drones are used to show unflattering angles of small cottages.
But the fish-eye drone shots aren’t the worst, and they aren’t what throw me off my game very early every morning. It’s the photoshopping. It’s the application of blue to each sky and bright green to every blade of grass. It’s the exposure alterations that make my cones and rods cry for mercy. It’s the camera lens that makes a 12 x 14 den look like a 28 x 40 ball room that insults my intelligence. It’s the twinkly lights in every room, where each shot looks like someone waded through the fog to capture the image. It’s the manipulation of reality that I’m distracted by.
While I am one for limited government involvement in all things, I think the false advertising of such reality altering CGI should be outlawed. Are you turned on by the pictures of homes for sale on Geneva that look as though they are nestled against the azure waters of Eleuthera? Does this manipulation of actual pigments and tones make you want to buy something more than you might otherwise? Far from being an old curmudgeon, I am a young curmudgeon, and now I need a nap, because I just checked the MLS and my retinas ache.
Above, a picture I took of Williams Bay this morning.