Sunday, August 8, 2010

Snapshots of Life

I have been doing some thinking lately about who I am and who I want to be. About the balance between the already and the not yet in my life. And how this is related to my camera.

I love photography. I have loved it ever since I was 13 and got my first "real" camera, and maybe even before that. And anyone who knew me in high school knew that my camera was just as much a part of me as my "poof". I always had my camera. I was always taking pictures of everything. I documented everything because I was so afraid of missing something. But I look back now at those two dimensional images and I realize a few things.

#1 - I was hiding behind that camera. Photography gave me an excuse to be a spectator of life rather than a participant in it. There are a few photos of me and friends that I treasure from that time, but for the most part my photos are of other things and other people and what they were doing. I was too busy watching it and taking pictures of it.

#2 - Because of reason number one, I don't really remember much about all those things I took pictures of to begin with. I can look back at the pictures and go "oh yeah, now I remember" but the things I remember most vividly from those times are the things that there are no photos to document. Because I was too busy "doing" it. There are pictures in my mind, and those are really the most meaningful.

My life has evolved a little bit since then. I still love to take pictures. I still love to see the things that a camera can capture that we often miss in the fleeting moments of life. I love the ability to look back and remember and reflect and to share those experiences with others in a very tangible way. But I don't carry the camera with me everywhere anymore. I don't document nearly as much as I used to. I live a little more.

As much as I love the memories of living in a new and exciting way, part of me wonders what I'm missing out on by not taking as many pictures. I look at the blogs I love to read like The Pioneer Woman and Enjoying the Small Things (both fantastic by the way. If you don't read them regularly, you should!) and look at their beautiful photos. I look at the way they capture the most normal, regular things in the most beautiful and special ways. And I wonder if someday I will do a disservice to my children by not capturing those moments for them.

I love my memories. But I love being able to share them in tangible ways with others. I love photos. I love living. Part of me wishes I could hire a photographer to follow me around all the time so I can live and enjoy and make memories of my own, but still have those memories documented!

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