I remember the day I got my first camera. It was one of those rectangular ones that took 110 film. I took some OK pictures with it… actually most of them were terrible – I was only 8 after all. But it began a lifelong love affair with taking pictures and recording the world around me. I progressed from one camera to another gaining skills and eventually receiving a degree in photography with my hopes set high on being one the 5% that makes it out of art school. I’ll spare you the hurt and pain I went through trying to be an emerging artist newly graduated during the economy housing crash. Instead working on being “unique and artsy” I focused my camera on my home life: on what I was cooking, where I traveled, and who I was with. Eventually my first daughter was born and all that pent up artistic energy went right into photographing her, almost to the point of over-photographing: every part of her daily life became an opportunity to take a picture. At one point I realized I wasn’t enjoying the moment but rather always preparing to share it with someone else at another time.
From that moment on two years ago I slowly began to put down my camera. Sometimes I don’t bring it at all when we go out. This probably is much to the dismay of my in-laws and my mother who want to see the grand-kids all the time. But I find that watching them and burning the moment in to my brain is much more precious and productive then taking a picture.
This afternoon, as we took a family walk for the first time with our puppy, I turned around on the dirt path to look for V. She had stopped to look at some dried berries on bush. Her little body stood silhouetted by the sun. It’s rays lighting up her golden mess of crazy curls like halo. At first I thought oh I wish I had my camera to share this with everyone. It’s so beautiful, the light, her exploring the natural work being two. But then the more reasonable side of me said burn this into your brain soak up every detail, be grateful that you can spend the precious seconds needed to just be in the moment. Had I had my camera I would have taken the time to turn it one put it up to my eye focus and meter and then the moment would have gone. I would have said damn, she moved to fast and I might have been sad.
Instead I am happy and grateful. I absorbed the moment and all it had to offer and I don’t feel guilty that I can’t share it with everyone. The picture above I am sharing with you was from another walk some days before, taken with my phone.
Tell me, do you ever just leave your camera behind?