If it weren’t for taking pictures wherever I go, I’d have so few memories about the details.
From “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen E. Ambrose, “He (Lewis) was a man whose mind never stopped working, and during his long walks on the plains or in the mountains he had plenty of time to think – even though his eyes were constantly picking up flora and fauna, geographical features, the distance to this or that spot, and registering them in his mind so he could write about them in his journal.”
At this line, I wrote a small note in my book, “I’d forget all about the details by the time I got to writing it down.”
It’s something that frustrates me and why I take a lot of pictures…and then get so discouraged by the people that say you’re not in the moment if you’re always taking pictures.
I take pictures to remember the details. I may recall where I was and who I was with if I don’t, but in the long run and especially if I want to think on and write about the day later, the pictures stir the memories back to the surface.
I started taking pictures when I was around 11 years old and got a camera for Christmas. It took square pictures. From that day on, I snapped pictures of my toys, my brother, my friends, the playground, my mom, everything.
When I was in high school, I got a Minolta camera that I carried around with me on a Mickey Mouse strap that I bought at Disneyland. I took it everywhere and filled scrapbooks with photos and notes about them.
Digital was a dream come true. I could take even more pictures of my day and not worry about the cost of printing them all and throwing away the bad ones.
And then they put a camera on my phone. Best invention ever! And instead of putting them in a book with a note, I can post them on Instagram for the world to see.
There was a downside to that. People and their opinions. I started to let those opinions change my actions. They started to diminish what I love with their petty bullshit.
I don’t consider myself a photographer. Most of my pictures are not “art,” they are memory triggers: I saw this, I want to look into that, this was interesting, etc. I used to put them in a photo album, now I put them on Instagram. I make a note to remember what I was thinking or where I was, with who, and leave it, creating a printed photo album at the end of the year.
I’d like to start taking some time at the end of my day to reflect on the pictures I took and write more thoughtfully about them, instead of posting throughout the day.
Strange that I didn’t realize how much I enjoy taking pictures and how I had let it be ruined until just now, reading about Meriwether Lewis walking the Rocky Mountains and returning to journal about his discoveries. Can you image in he had social media and the internet? Would he have changed he wrote down or how he felt about the exploration if he had been confronted with public opinion at every turn?
Go back to my first post, “Undaunted Courage: New Read,” to read more.