Living life through a lens


Stop! Think before you act!

It seemed so simple. Raise the little window up to my eye, focus, click! I couldn’t do it. Too many people were looking at me, I think. Well, maybe they weren’t looking at me. They all had little windows or screens pasted to their eyes and were clicking away like the shutter sound produced pure satisfaction.

They had no problem.
I felt awkward.

I had to think a lot before it began to make sense. I mean, I enjoy taking pictures, but I never thought of them as a method of producing or maintaining memory. To me, snapping a photo captured a moment in time that was framed and composed. The balance was nice, the colors were interesting, and the textures and depth added to the composition. I guess, in a small way, it was art. Of course, right? Doesn’t everybody think this way?

I guess it’s simple; I never wanted to share before. Internet technology along with digital cameras changed everything. There is more to it than technology though. I am far away from friends and family that I’ve known for a long time. Technology has made it easier to share with all of them in one convenient location. Photos are an easy way to share and stay in touch.


Pure embarrassment

But I still find standing around taking pictures difficult. Sometimes my face flushes red from embarrassment. Other times I feel like a terrorist, sneaking photos in a flurry of clicks, most of which end up blurry. Maybe it’s my own fear of being photographed. I tend to close up shop once cameras enter. I think that is why I feel more comfortable snapping photos of wilderness. I’m usually alone and I can focus on composing the scene.

I have this thing about living through a lens. The lens is constraining and manipulative. Pictures can say thousands of words but sometimes they don’t say the right words. A moment captured can be interpreted any way you like. Beyond that, I am cheated out of the full experience because I was busy taking pictures.

It appears to be a no-win situation because in order to take great pictures you always have to be ready to capture that perfect moment.


I remember the day. Blue skies, warm sun, cool breeze. A five km walk. Now you can see it too!

I’ve had to reconcile experiencing life through a lens and engaging each moment without it. Life is a never ending struggle trying to find balance. A photo may represent life through a lens, but it can capture that one pure moment of poignancy. Maybe living through a lens isn’t so bad after all.


About Matthew J. Durocher

Matthew Durocher is a graduate of Michigan Tech University. He acquired his BA in English along with a minor in Music Composition and a certificate in Writing in Spring 2012. His style is one of passion and musicality. One foot is firmly rooted in tradition while the other slides dangerously close to the clouds.
This entry was posted in Culture Shock, Narrative, Photography, Reflection and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Living life through a lens

  1. Reading this reminds me of visiting Japan as an exchange student a couple of years ago. This really resonates with me. I took pictures of some of the most mundane things because I thought the little details and differences between Japan and America were so fascinating. The picture you have at the top (I’m assuming a guardian or god) reminds me of visiting Sanjuusangen-dou in Kyoto. They don’t allow you to take pictures, but that visit ended up being one of my most vibrant memories. The aura of the temple and the emotion I could see in the statues were almost better than if I could have taken pictures. It makes me so nostalgic! :’)

    • Oh yeah! Lots of pictures! That particular photo is of a guardian at a local shrine, which is only a few meters from where I stay. I love the mundane details in general, especially in fiction and photography. They can say so much. But yeah. I prefer to experience it first hand to begin with so I can get a feeling for the emotion. Then, take pictures like mad. I haven’t been to Kyoto yet but I have heard it is gorgeous! Thanks for dropping by!

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