Constant Chatter: Photo Finish
Submitted Photo: Myka the monkey.
The other day I was watching my new favourite comedian on Netflix, Jim Gaffigan. In his video Mr. Universe he does a set about taking photos. It made me think. So much in fact, that I have gone back and watched the video a few times.
He’s a comedian, and he means for what he says to be funny, but this got me:
“Instead of enjoying this moment, let’s take pictures!”
For a long time I had to actually talk myself into taking more pictures of my girls. I saw how many great moments some of my friends captured of their children and I would think, “shoot, I missed a moment like that just the other day! I need to take more pictures of them so I don’t miss anything else!”
So I started taking the camera out more often, but there was a problem: I’m a terrible photographer. I was SO thankful for digital photography, and I had a great system worked out. It seemed like I had to take an average of 64 photos to get a couple that were worth keeping…then I would delete the rest. I categorized the remaining photos into folders, printed them regularly so I had hard copies. I even started a different photo album for each girl!
Then the downward spiral began. First of all, only three girls have hard-copy albums, and Myka’s most recent picture is from her aunt’s wedding when she was only two months old. Then I stopped printing hard copies altogether, although I recently remedied this and caught up almost completely by ordering prints from Shutterfly; 300 photos anyone?
Soon, I got too lazy (or as I like to call it “busy”) to delete any that weren’t frame worthy from the albums. It got to the point where, as Jim Gaffigan would say, I almost needed an entire computer for each year’s worth of photos, most of which were blurry or washed out.
The problem only got worse when I got my iPhone in May of this year. iPhones seem to carry a whole new special set of problems with them. I don’t know about you, but mine made me feel much more “professional” almost right away. My pictures were clearer with better colour, and I loved that I could so easily grab it from my pocket and snap a photo before anyone even knew what was going on. I captured many more candid moments! I also racked up hundreds of photos in a few short months, just compounding an already existing issue of mine.
Needless to say, I’ve learned a couple of hard lessons in the last seven years:
1. Digital photography is great because you can delete the bad pictures, but is only helpful if you actually DELETE the bad pictures, and; 2. Digital photography is suited for someone more organized than I.
Now despite that little rant, I am not saying that we shouldn’t take ictures. Not at all! Our moments with our children are fleeting, and definitely SHOULD be remembered, and photos are a great way to do that. I mean, who doesn’t love flipping through photo albums from their childhood?
Our girls learn new things every day, and when they are playing and happy there is nothing I want more han to have that moment captured on camera so I can look back at it. When we do things as a family, I want to remember that too. In fact, this is the very reason that I started my blog; I wanted a place to put all of our favourite memories and photos because I am even worse at scrapbooking than I am at organizing the family photos!
But with anything, there is a very delicate balance. A balance that the realization of swept over me while I was watching that comedy sketch. As I have thought more and more about it over the last two weeks, this was my personal conclusion.
Many of the experiences that we have as a family are huge, or really fun. They are worth snapping a photo or two, and sharing with our friends and family through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Other experiences are worth a photo, but don’t need to be shared with everyone on all of our social networking sites. They are of a special little moment between daddy and daughter, or between me and one of the girls…or just something that could add to the “internet photo clutter” but doesn’t really need to be shared. I read a little piece of advice a few years ago that has stuck with me. It said, “never share any photo on the internet that you wouldn’t show the guy sitting next to you on an airplane.”
And then there are the super precious moments, the moments where time stands still and I stand in wonder, just watching these beautiful little girls that we were blessed with. It’s moments like these, usually where they are doing something small like playing nicely together, or kissing her sister on the cheek, that don’t need the interruption of a camera. These are the moments that are best remembered when I cherish them in my heart.