Nikon Girl, originally uploaded by alachia.

Sometimes I wonder if taking photos can turn into something of an unhealthy lifestyle. Photography or amateur picture taking as most would say is something I enjoy very much. I love to capture moments, pieces of things that interest me, and of course memories.

The only problem is wondering whether or not you miss a lot when you aren’t seeing the world through both your eyes. If you’re too busy trying to set up the right composition or always pausing to take in something you find intriguing, it becomes a lot harder to just soak in the moment right?

It’d be much better if we just had memory recorders in our head I guess. There’s something about the need to personalize certain images just as you see them right then. I know for sure there are images of places and buildings that I will never be able to take a better picture of but I want my own personal snapshot of it. Why is that?

Even if I’ve taken a million pictures of the same types of food I eat, I often find myself taking yet another photo of it. And even if I’ve gone on a specific photowalk of a route, I still bring my camera “just in case.” Inevitably this leads to me stopping and trying to take a better picture than I did before or grab a different light on the same damn tree.

And sometimes I wonder when you’re just hanging out with friend or family if it’s not just as rude to spend time taking pictures when you’re spending time with them as it if you were on a cell phone. I often use the camera as an excuse to be anti-social because I don’t know how to will myself to interact. I love being behind the camera but I still worry about why it’s so hard for me to say “no more 3x5s.”

"Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
in the mood to lose my way

but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
NO more 3x5's"
- John Mayer, 3x5


chewyfruitloop said...

It's your hobby and your flipping good at it. I don't see why you can't enjoy things and take pictures at the same time.
My memory is trash, so I'm thankful for the pictures, just looking at the kids, I can't remember them any other way than they are now. I totally need the pictures.

Your right though if you had a USB socket on your head things would be miles easier.

I don't think the people who know you think it's rude of you when you pull the camera.

My dad recently had his best ever flight in a glider, but he left his camera on the ground. If you leave it behind you never know what you'll miss.

AlanFalcon said...


That's what I would probably say if I knew what it meant.

But I absolutely wish I had access to a camera growing up, so that I could have a lot more memories of events, people, things. My memory is not so fantastic, but whenever I look at a picture I took, no matter how long ago, it's like total recall - I'm back in that moment. It's something that I can't do at will, so I cherish the times when I got those great pictures. I know I'll always be able to revisit the memory!

Unrelated: Dance

tfangel said...

I can't speak for others, but i wish i had taken photos all my life like i do now. Partly because i have some memory issues that i don't remember a huge chunk of my life, and don't even have a clue what some people i cared about really looked like. I'd love to have more or even some pictures of those people and times.

A personal thing related to this, are the photos of my friend who shot herself a couple years ago. I have a good deal of photos, but wish i had even more. For a good while i couldn't even glance at them without hurting and missing her, but now they remind me of the good times we had. There were times she wanted me to put the camera away, so i did, but i also kind of regret not having some shots of other times.

Of course a memory recorder would be best, but that may never happen, probably not in my lifetime at least.

That said, i do choose times to pull out cameras around friends, i know several who don't like to have their picture taken. So unless it's a special event, i tend to just "be" with them and not take so many pictures.

Be yourself, if you like taking photos, keep it up. People who know you and care won't mind, but also don't be afraid to put it down and participate. Sorry this got long and rambling.

Strumpet said...

I've actually been wondering about this a little - wandering through London and Paris behind the lens.

But behind the camera is more comfortable for me-- and often when composing the shot I think I might actually see the scene more deeply than those who don't take a moment to frame it. And I know that looking back on the shots I actually remember the scene very vividly - not only the shot that I kept, but why I angled it the way I did - the shots that ended up in the bin etc.

As far as portrayers and candida are concerned - sometimes I reluctantly put the camera away - especiallynwhen I can see hubbie getting exasperated. But they are getting more used to me being behind the lens, as I'm sure your family is too.

As for not bringing the Nikon? Are youninsane?!? That's like leaving the lens cap on and regretting it forever!!

This is a silly thing for you to beat yourself up about - it's part of who you are and how you express yourself - don't you DARE silence it!!

Strumpet said...

Omg - iPad spell check fail - portraits and candids

Bibble said...

I see your point, but photography has actually made me more social because it's a hobby that's common to a lot of people. I've met you and a lot of others through Flickr and other photography groups, and I'm thankful for that.

I try and make sure that I take a look around wherever I am before taking a photo. I never think that I'm missing out on something... Typically I'm taking a picture of something because my two eyes caught something interesting or special.

I close one eye, push down on a button, and backup the memory to a digital file... but I don't let the joy of the moment escape me.

parxyr said...

Why can't we have both? You are mixing the ideals of an artistic form of expression with social interaction. Can't they both exist in their own respect?

I enjoy envisioning what scenes must look like through a lens even when I don't have my camera with me. There is something about capturing a moment as you so eloquently pointed out. You capture the innocence of it, and become the proverbial fly on the wall while telling a story through film. There is something very profound, expressive and moving about that. How many times have you opened an issue of National Geographic and felt like you were being drawn into a story without even reading a word of the article?

This is something to be cherished, not scrutinized. If you are passionate about it, then go with it.

Where I will agree with you is if you only allow yourself to be constantly stuck behind the lens and don't allow yourself to experience the life you are capturing via the camera. For me, I take the shot, then I experience it. Then maybe I take another shot.

While wandering around Europe during my last vacation, that was how it went. I'd be living up the moment, then memorializing it in some small way. Memories fade, but a picture can endure and invigorate the memory again.

I've never regretted bringing my camera somewhere. But I can recount many tales of times I wish I had it with me.