Living through our lenses
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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