I never used to take photographs. Besides a short period of time in middle school when I had a broken camera screen (sorry, Mom and Dad), I always had access to a camera, whether it be my parents' or my own. Perhaps, I was lazy and considered it too much work to have to pull out my camera or phone every time I wanted to snap a picture. Maybe I was spoiled by a mother who always photographed everything, so I considered it a given to consistently have photographs without putting in the work of documentation. Or maybe I just did not care.
Even as a teenager, I did not take many photographs. My friends took pictures at parties and formals, and a simple "tag me on Facebook!" provided me with access to those after the event. My parents took pictures of important birthdays and vacations, so I could always just download what I wanted to keep for myself from the computer and onto my own phone or laptop. Why take photographs myself?
However, this meant that I saw what others wanted to preserve and not always necessarily what I wanted. For example, I have nearly no pictures of myself, my friends, or any events from my sophomore year of high school. My life at the time, while not extremely enthralling, was still full of little moments I wish I had documented. And, worst of all, I do not have any awkward photos of myself from that time to include in my transformation side-by-side photographs!
When I went to college, I finally began to understand the value of a camera. My parents were no longer around to be my personal photographers. My friends had their own ideas about what they wanted to memorialize in a photograph. Relying on others to create snapshots of my life was no longer feasible or appropriate.
I began to take pictures of everything, from the college campus to my friends, from the little things I noticed on my way to class to the large formal events. My computer's Photos application has thousands of pictures and videos of what I considered important for me to document over the past three years. I can browse the pictures at my leisure, laughing at the photographs themselves or the memories associated with them.
I used to like a song when I was younger called "Memories that Fade Like Photographs." While printed photographs can indeed fade and be lost, we live in a new era when we can save photographs digitally. So why not snap a picture? If you do not like it, you can always delete it, but if you never take it in the first place, then you will never have it. And the memories will still fade.