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Living through our lenses

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 19:11


My mom recently came to visit me. Her visit flew by and it felt as soon as she arrived she was already packing to leave

I can’t help feel though that the swiftness of her visit was in part my fault. When my mom left I felt I had missed out on something. And in reality I had. I had missed out on living in the moment as I tried too hard to capture the moment. Everywhere we stopped I took a picture at a thousand different angles. I was “click happy.”

For instance, during our two-and-a-half hour tour of Alcatraz, I took 300 pictures alone. When we got on the ferry to go back to the mainland, I realized I hadn’t looked at the prison once—I had seen the whole tour through the screen of my digital camera.

Later in the week, before my mom left, she was looking at a photo album at my aunt’s house. As I looked on I saw a thick album with about 150 pictures spanning a year’s time-—an engagement party, holidays, a graduation, a dance recital. If someone took a digital camera to each of those events and printed out every single shot taken, they would need at least a dozen albums.

Maybe I’m the only one who’s “click-happy,” but in my travels to monuments and cities across the globe I know I’ve seen other people live vicariously through their camera lens and not through their own two eyes. Looking back, the best advice I ever got while traveling is “leave your camera at home - make your own memories.”

The digital camera has allowed for great strides in creativity in media arts and flexibility in the work environment. But it’s convenience stifles a major part of what really makes memories—togetherness.

I’m not saying we should abandon digital cameras completely. Without cameras, much of history would be undocumented—visual storytelling is one of the finest arts that we need dearly. But the next time my mom comes to visit, I want to spend time with her, not the iPhoto album I upload once she leaves.

Rachel Weaver is the Opinion Editor. E-mail her at

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