I Need a Hero

A popular trend I have noticed in the realm of the Instagram app is the high usage of GoPro cameras that so many people seem to have acquired. Suggested by the title, GoPro prides itself on its high quality videos and photographs accompanied by its affordable price. The mounting accessories, water proof capability, and overall easiness of use when performing actions in which holding a camera would seem illogical amazed me and therefore factored into my buying the product. However, when reading about John Onian’s “Four Stages of Amazement” (Gunning), I started to think that maybe the GoPro is losing its “amazement” factor because of its accessibility.

In 2006, the GoPro Hero was released and could record video and take stills all in HD (Wikipedia). This amazed people that all could be done while still performing activities such as surfing, skateboarding, and cliff-diving…yes cliff-diving because the camera was water proof! Water proof cameras can cost a fortune and these compact devices were able to achieve the impossible in just a few inches and couple hundred dollars.

“In terms of flexibility, the HD Hero is a piece of genius design. It’s tiny enough to take all over the world, and cheap enough for you to be more bothered about losing the footage than the camera, if you drop it into the ocean.”
-Ian Morris (November 2011)

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.12.14 AM

John Onian’s four stages of amazement are characterized in the following order: Striking visual or aural experience followed by physical paralysis (can be more or less metaphorically speaking), mental reaction leading to learning a new action, and lastly habit or automation (Gunning 41). The GoPro seemed to spark the “visual experience” and possibly physical paralysis for some. It seems as if the mental reaction to owning a GoPro was wanting to show and record how cool your life could be which might mean teaching yourself some new skill to record on the device. For many, this could result in the “learning a new action”, for example, learning to surf in order to make a really awesome GoPro surfing video or learning a new ski jump in order to record yourself doing it. The habit and automation comes into play right about now, in 2014, when the GoPro has become so popular and widely used that it is almost uncommon for the average video maker to not own one.

Whilst hiking to the top of the 360 bridge in Austin, TX, I thought to myself “what a great place to use my GoPro for a nice HD, panoramic type picture”. Well, apparently everyone else thought that too because I seemed to be the only one whom forget my GoPro. I think this is habit and automation because of the fact that these products are so widely used, it is hard to find the same amazement in them that I once saw a couple years ago just because of their commonplace.


“GoPro.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Gunning, Tom. Re-Knewing Old Technologies: Astonishment, Second Nature, and the Uncanny in Technology from the Previous Turn-of- the-Century. PDF.

Morris, Ian. “GoPro HD Hero.” Pocket-lint. Pocket-lint Ltd, 9 Nov. 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.


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