There are many people that posit their opinions on the frequency and purpose of taking photos: of social events; of that ticket you bought to your first concert; of the old man in the corner that made you sad. Some say life is to be experienced, and the advent of photography in social situations removes that experience. Others say you should take photos of everything that strikes you, in whatever way, whether it be negative or positive, or whether you just feel like taking a picture, you should do it. I’m somewhere in the middle… comfortably.
I am a firm believer in experiencing life as much as possible, not spending too much time on your phone, and not necessarily pulling out your phone camera for the hell of it. I am, however, also a strong believer in the beauty of that life experience frozen in the frame of a photo. When I lose a photo, when clearing my phone, or when something breaks and there’s no way to save my photos it genuinely hurts. The reason why, I think, is because although we do have our own memories and we do experience things on a more emotional and somatic level we still forget. Photos help us to relive that day, night, week, month, year or even generational sector of our life.
Whenever I look through my current photo book, itself not full to the brim with photos of every day of my life, it makes me smile…because those days made me smile and it allows me to remember. Again, I am somewhere in the middle between no photos, and an endless smattering of photos. So my photo book only includes momentous events, or the simplest of days that reminded me why this world is so spectacular. I also try my best to only take photos that I truly cannot live with forgetting. I am a very visual person, I am a creative, so when I look through my photo book, it is not a boring thing, it is not a chore that I feel obliged to do. It is a pleasure, I take my time and look through each, remembering the day, remembering the upsets and the elated moments and, most of all, feeling again what I felt before.
What also makes me smile is the idea that when I am in my 50s, 30 years from now I can look through the same photo book (If I can keep it fresh and alive til then) and see a period of my life that will, no doubt, feel both alien and familiar.
I will stare into the eyes of a child, a young man that had not gone through the experiences I inevitably will and I will smile because I will remember that in those moments I knew that life was more than worrying. I will, hopefully, smile further realising that that thought and belief still exists, and I am living my life with a open mind and a full heart.
As you can tell this is a significantly shorter post than normal, this is partially because I want to not be afraid to deliver posts that are just short and sweet. This post is actually half the word count that it normally is, and I think that’s quite nice. The other reason is connected to the previous one: I want to prioritise quality over quantity as much as I can. This is a subject i wanted to mention before, but briefly, I could go further, and maybe it would still work, but I feel like for this subject at least, a small and poetic answer to the titular question was needed. Let me know what you think!