I've been seeing a lot of articles lately about how people are taking pictures and posting all about their day, nights out, trips, etc...but aren't really living through the moments. Is photography really destroying the way we experience our real lives or is it purely social media's fault?
On the up side, I do love Facebook & Instagram. I love being able to catch up with friends easily and see images from around the world in real time but I understand the arguement. Going on a trip and taking tons of pictures of the beach but not actually enjoying it (swimming, kayaking, playing with your significant other or kids in the water, etc...) is pointless. I get that. Just like going to the gym just to take a picture of yourself in the mirror while wearing your new, super cute Lululemon outfit isn't really a workout...especially if you do a few situps, call it quits and head to Jamba Juice.
I struggle with this argument the most b/c I think a lot of these articles are solely blaming photography. If you only take pictures so that other people can see what you're doing, then yes, that is absolutely going to interfere with your experiences. Pulling out a camera to capture the moments is not going to though. It has to be for you - first and foremost. This is where I want the argument to be sorted out better.
I take a bazillion pictures everyday. I see inspiration everywhere. I see beauty everywhere. If my dog's mouth is twerked to the side so far that it makes me laugh hysterically, I want to capture the moment and keep it for a later date when she may not be on this earth anymore. I want memories. Photography helps you remember your experiences in life - it doesn't take away from them. I love being able to relive my life through photography. I'd never be able to remember the details that my images can remind me of.
One last note - I saw "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" a few months ago and it hit me hard. Really hard. It's a message about life and how you should enjoy it...not let it pass you by. It's easy to play it safe in life but every one of us needs some adventure - something to get our blood racing. It doesn't have to be dangerous...you don't necessarily need to go far but it needs to be something that makes you feel alive. Towards the end of the movie, the photographer in it is on assignment to photograph a rare snow leopard. Walter Mitty finds him and their conversation goes as follows:
Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?
Sean O'Connell: Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
Walter Mitty: Stay in it?
Sean O'Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.
I liked this b/c it was about balance. I, personally, would've ended up taking the picture at the end just for memory purposes but I liked that the photographer sat there and enjoyed the real time image of the majestic animal. He didn't want to just be behind his camera and miss the moment - instead, he enjoyed the moment right then and there.
Bottom line is: Record your experiences - take pictures that will remind you of your journey in life. Just don't forget to enjoy the ride.