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Capturing a memory to miss an experience
January 30, 2023
For the past few years my list of New Year’s resolutions has had at least one goal of taking more pictures, however this year one of my new year’s resolutions is to take less.
For the longest time I’ve had this strange urge to photograph pretty much everything I do. As a kid I rationalized, if I didn’t have hundreds of photos of my friends I didn’t actually have very many, and if I didn’t have photographic evidence of all the interesting things I did, they weren’t that interesting. I think my former mindset is a pressure shared by many people, especially in the social media age.
I think to a certain extent we all feel some type of pressure to photographically prove our lives are interesting and fun, which I’m beginning to realize is quite idiotic.
In 2022 I went to more concerts than I had ever before. Looking back, I spent way too much of those concerts in pursuit of capturing a perfect picture of the artist performing, and recording all my favorite songs, instead of enjoying my favorite artists perform in front of me. There would be times I’d catch myself watching the concert through my phone instead of watching it live. Which is a pattern I know I’m not alone in. Every concert I attended I was surrounded by people who had their cameras out just as long, if not longer, than I did. I used to rationalize taking so many pictures by telling myself it was a way for me to look back and remember the joy I had felt at that moment – however, I can confidently say, aside from scrolling through my camera roll post-concert, I have not gone back to look at those pictures since.
I’m officially in my second semester of senior year, and this school year especially I’ve felt an added pressure to capture every moment possible. To a certain extent I feel like every football game, sleepover, or coffee date is quickly coming to an end. I feel like I need photographic proof it those moments happened, so I can look back on it and remember what this year felt like, 20 years down the road. However, lately I’ve begun to wonder if because I spend so much time taking pictures of what’s happening around me, to a certain extent, I forget to enjoy it.
I’m beginning to realize there’s something beautiful about having moments, unique to your own memory. Movements that didn’t necessarily get photographed, but moments that are none the less meaningful, and memorable.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love capturing candid moments of my close friends and family, and documenting all the events in my life that make the current moment unique, but in 2023 I hope to spend less time looking at life behind a lens and actually enjoying what’s happening around me. No singular picture is going to capture exactly what you were feeling at a given moment, and your enjoyment of said movement is seriously diminished if you’re spending it trying to take a picture to remember it than just simply enjoying it.