I do things different than most people. I don't go out much, but when I do, I don't take a lot of photographs or any at all. But lately, I've been hanging out with people who love to take photographs when we go out. They love to take selfies and pictures of the place we're visiting. It's not that I hate taking photographs which is untrue, I love photography and I love taking photographs, it's just that I don't like it when people get so caught up and consumed with taking a photograph instead of just enjoying the moment.
Let me explain.
I love to people watch and observe them. I'm a writer, it's what I do. And I notice when I go to certain places whether I'm here in Houston, in NYC, or in Rochester, everybody does the same thing. They go up to a really cool place, have a look of awe of the environment, take a picture or a selfie, and then walk away. As if the experience is over once you've you captured the moment. But are you really capturing the moment? Or are you using landmarks as your cool background for that selfie?
I'm not saying that you should never take photos. I'm just saying that you shouldn't let your photographs be the only reason why you're there. I want everybody to ask themselves a question, "Why am I taking this photo?" Are you taking it because you want to capture the moment as you tell everybody, or are you taking the photo because you want to post it on Facebook or Instagram with the hopes of getting a handful of likes. Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with wanting to show everybody your photographs when you went here or there, but don't get caught up by it. Some people get really consumed with getting attention on social media. I've met some people who get mad when you don't like their stuff. the whole post of online networking so people can see what you're doing without actually see each other in person. We've become so focused on sharing the experience that we forget to actually experience the moment.
Once again, I am not against taking photographs for personal use or for photography. I think the camera is the greatest invention in human history, besides air conditioning. I just want people to really realize that there is a whole world out there full of splendor and wonder and so many great things, and you can experience it without taking a photograph. If you notice, when you don't take a picture of it, the experience becomes more personal. Only you and the people you went with know what happened and what you saw.
So go ahead, take those family photos and take a picture with Niagara Falls in the background or Times Square. I just want everybody to keep in mind the reason why you're taking the photograph and what it means.