on taking less photos
For some reason I haven’t been taking as many photos of late. I think pregnancy has a lot to do with it (I’m using pregnancy as an excuse for many things – foul moods, inability to form a coherent sentence, sudden and energetic cleaning outbursts) but mostly, I think I’m beginning to realise – really comprehend – how fast time is travelling. I’m almost in my third trimester, Christmas is a few weeks away, Che is about to finish Year 1 – where have all those days gone to?
I’m a big advocate for documenting moments and capturing memories. Like most people, my photos are among my most valuable possessions; I would be devastated if anything ever happened to my hard drives (Daniel has taken precautions and has copied our photos onto CDs that are kept at our parents’ houses). Over the past few years I have taken hundreds of thousands of photos. It’s how I developed my knowledge of manual photography, honed my skills and stepped into the world of professional photography. In fact, I highly recommend you take hundreds of thousands of photos if you want to become a better photographer; it’s the best way to learn.
That said, lately I have been enjoying the opportunity to experience a moment instead of documenting it. Whilst I can look back at photos, remember the conversation and savour the memory, it’s not the same as actually being there; completely, wholeheartedly present. Some say that taking photos helps you to be in the moment – the quiet observer – but there’s still a camera between you and everyone else. Regardless of how compact that camera may be, there’s no denying that it’s in the way.
And then, if you’re striving for artistic perfection, your desire to control the situation is a blockage, too. I’m speaking from experience – looking at the light, assessing my angle and composing the image and subsequently, adding a slew of unnecessary emotions to the situation. Taking photos takes energy and I’m starting to realise that that energy would be best spent on talking, drawing, splashing…just being.
I’ll never stop taking photos of my days; it’s something I enjoy doing and I always, without doubt, cherish the final result. But I’m consciously taking less because I don’t want to look back at photo albums and wish I was the one painting with Poet instead of taking photos above her head. I don’t want to be consumed by creative desire and subsequently regret missed opportunities. I want to be fully present with my young, beautiful, energetic children – here and now.
There’s a fine line between engaging in life and documenting it. What do you choose?