At the end of May, my little step-sister got married. As I was curling her hair, she gave me strict instructions to tell the family to put away our phones. As I took my seat, the officiant announced that this was an “unplugged” ceremony, and that the bride and groom requested no photos or videos during the ceremony. There was a professional photographer to record it all. My sister just wanted us to enjoy and be a part of the ceremony.
I LOVED THIS.
I’ve been a “stop taking pictures, enjoy the moment” person even before everyone had a device in their hand and took on the role as head documentarian in their own lives.
This being said–I take pictures. I spent three weeks in Europe last summer and took ironic daily selfies. Originally these were to send to my mom, but I ended up putting them up on social media because people on social media requested pictures and updates to see how my trip was going. I took almost 1000 pictures on my trip. Many of them were the same, taking and retaking moments to find “the perfect one”: perfect angle, perfect light, perfect moment. I took them so I would remember all the moments from my trip. The thing is, the memories that come to mind are NOTHING that I captured on my phone. Most of my pictures I’ve used for background art for LiveClareLesley quotes. I’ve deleted all but maybe 40 of those pictures.
My rockstar friend, Angie, has gigs once a month–and I take pictures and videos at each of those. I’ve learned to take a moment and post them on social media in the moment–because the reason I take those pics and video are to promote her. I usually wait a week and then delete. I’m not worried about it, because I’ll remember her concerts, or at least moments of them. I never look at them after. I’ll stop every once in a while when I scroll through my pictures (usually to make art for LCL!) But other than that, I just don’t look at them.
The point I’m trying to lead to is: why do we take so many photos and videos? Are we so in trusting of our memories?
Whereas, I like seeing #flashbackfriday and #tbt posts, and I enjoy Facebook reminding me of posts I made in previous years, I don’t need to prep for these things. I don’t need to save every photo.
I remember when I was younger, I hated looking through photo albums, especially those I wasn’t featured. (I might be a brat, but I’d rather you just told me about your trip to The Grand Canyon instead of showing me 500 photos of you swearing and sweating on a donkey.) So many times pictures were just people standing in front of things–which spur memories, but never seems to capture them. I think even as a child I had the notion that the past was over and my memories of it were enough. Add in that my high school journalism teacher hated posed pictures–so that fostered something else in me. I generally stay away from posed pictures (other than the ironic selfie now and then).
The thing is that people spend so much time recording the actual happening that they miss or don’t enjoy it. I loved my sister’s wedding because we were, all 50 of us in attendance, present for the 20 minutes together. Just being, rejoicing in love. It was great. There were many silly pictures taken before and after. But my best memories from the weekend are stored not in my phone, Facebook or a camera, but in my head.