(Go check out all the crazy photos at LeisureDiving.com)
What is going on here? Is it, as Joel Achenbach wrote, just a symptom of being surrounded at all times by platforms on which to display our own photographs, or as he calls them “narcissism-enhancers?” We have so many ways to take our own photo, simple shots just no longer cut it. Rather than photographs moments in live to remember, the act of photography has become the moment itself.
The seemingly-pointless prank of lying prone like a plank began as a stunt concocted by Australians. People lie in odd locations, take a picture and then share it. That’s the whole act. It’s been so popular, its spurred a rash of sequels such as perching like an owl or hanging like a bat — or diving into a pool in leisurely way.
(There is also a contingent that argues coning is the new planking. Coning, you ask? That’s the act of ordering a ice cream cone and grabbing the ice cream — not the cone — first.)
While BlogPost planking expert Elizabeth Flock insists there are no rules in this genre, I planking requires the entire act to be caught on camera. One moment of blissful silliness to be snapped and prominently displayed on social media sites as a proud declaration of one’s own blissful silliness.
The point is to not know what happens before or after the shutter (or iPhone) clicks. The point is to get caught on camera participating in one giant group joke that makes no sense to anyone unless they also participate in the giant group joke. This is the Internet meme taken offline and then put back online and only other Internet meme lovers can enjoy it.
So what do we call this? Still action shots? Still idiotinternet shots? Playplanking? Help me out here. While you think, I’m going to go practice my owl.