Today, I asked one of my friends what caption I should use for an Instagram photo. It was a candid of us, in weird poses, not even looking at the camera. The moment before the seriousness. We were very concerned with getting a "cute picture" together that night, most likely because it was one of the rare occasions when we weren't just wearing a t-shirt and norts (Nike shorts).
Like many people of our generation, remembering a moment is as easy as touching an iPhone a few times, occasionally using a flash. We think that we will go back and look at all of the pictures that we’ve taken, but odds are that we won’t. It will sit forgotten for the most part in our camera roll. We fill the storage space on our phone with selfies, memes, sunsets, food, blackmail, and everything else we can capture with a camera, as if we won't remember our friend's wedding or the best crab cake we've ever eaten without a photo. Instead of having fun with our friends that night in that moment, we probably spent too long deciding if we had gotten any presentable pictures to later be displayed on social media.
We should have been less concerned about getting a good picture and more concerned with enjoying the moment. Most of us don’t know how to go through an evening of any kind of significance without pulling our phones out to take a picture. Snapchat is an app that has really encouraged us to want to capture every little thing that is happening. We think that everyone who watches our story will most likely find it interesting. Most of us just tap through the story without even really looking.
Just because we can capture the moment, doesn’t mean we should. We think that the more interesting photos that we have on Facebook, the more interesting our life must be. We attribute self-worth to the number of likes we get on social media… This really needs to stop, and it all starts with a need to be taking pictures all of the time. If social media were suddenly shut down, what would we all do with ourselves? We would have nothing to check, nothing to post on, nothing to like. Our daily routine would be vastly different.
Live in the moment. Don't stop a good time just to pull out your phone. We need to stop and take things in with just our eyes, not through a lens. Sometimes, the camera can be a barrier to the world around you. I'm not asking you to never take another picture again since that would just be impossible in today's society. Holding on to memories through photographs is a beautiful thing, but when those memories start and end with photographs, that's where the problem is. I am just advocating not living through the lens of the camera on an iPhone. Your eyes do much better justice to a sunset than the best filter, I promise you.