On a recent family holiday, while watching a surprisingly impressive Elvis impersonator, I had a light bulb or indeed a flashbulb moment. Why must we live our life through a lens?
At least half a dozen adults from an audience of around 20 filmed the performance on their mobile phones and others happily clicked away throughout. I understand that photograph’s and videos undoubtedly improve our experiences and memories but must we be so snap happy? I mean, surely any entertaining performance would be much better witnessed in its entirety rather than through a tiny square window? Coming back to Elvis, I enjoyed the show and afterwards took the opportunity to practise my ‘Elvis lip’ on a photograph with the man himself but I never felt the urge to capture the ‘unique’ event in progress. Perhaps some of the performance shots will find their way on to Facebook and may be the video’s on to Youtube but I reckon most will remain within the phone and disposed of without additional viewing at the next upgrade.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy looking at old photographs etc but I do sometimes feel that we could live in the moment and just take a ‘mental picture’. Take family albums, look how many photographs we ‘stage’ at happy events. Young lads often dragged begrudgingly from sliding on their knees to have their picture taken, bolt upright, alongside their much cooler older brother. Check out the often creepy and unnatural full family portraits, most of which would on reflection, fit scarily well in most horror movie flashbacks. Yes, I want a few photographs of my boy at nursery and later during his school days. However, I’d much prefer it if we manage to capture him laughing at my silly voices and impressions or during tickle time with his mum.
I think the better photographs in any album are captured without warning or time allowed for breathing in and hair adjustments. Simple, natural shots of people doing whatever it is that made you smile and want to capture the moment in the first place.
Capture the moments, obey distant relatives’ demands for ‘photographic evidence’ but remember to enjoy the show.