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.
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’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.