When we think about photography now, we think about capturing moments on our phones and sharing them on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp or Snapchat.
We’re capturing more moments daily than we ever could before digital devices became so readily accessible. I love that about digital photography. It can be a little overwhelming at times but I’d rather have more photos of a moment than none.
At the same time, there is a downside.
What I’ve noticed is that this new habit also has a tendency to take us out of the moment we are capturing and that bothers me.
Ever notice how we lose the moment when we start sharing it with everyone? We take the photo and then, almost immediately, we find start sharing the photo with our communities. We pick the filters, make the photo just the way we like it to be, type the caption and share.
In the process, I think we often lose ourselves in that process instead of returning to the moment with the people or things in our immediate space. It’s ironic, really. There we are capturing a moment with our family and we fall out of it in our process of sharing it because we are more focused (excuse the pun) on the act of sharing and the other people we are sharing it with.
In contrast, a dedicated camera gives us an opportunity to be completely present when we are capturing moments and then return to it because we simply don’t have the immediate means to do much else. At the same time, it can also be a matter of focusing on one moment to the exclusion of others so there are still choices to make.
I’ll often be walking with somewhere with my family and I’ll stop to make a photo. Doing that interrupts a conversation with my son or just a moment walking with my family. It’s almost a blessing that my camera isn’t connected to anything because it is easier to go back to where I was before the photo.
When I make photos with my phone, the sharing habit can be strong and that just pulls me even further away. It has its uses, I suppose. Still, if my photography is about being more present, then my smartphone camera habit doesn’t support that.
The more I think about it, the more I appreciate my distinctly unconnected camera. It is a superior mindfulness and presence device because it doesn’t give me the opportunity to do much more.
Photo credit: Pixabay