Constantly Capturing Life: Positive or Negative?

Phone- Taking Picture

I can’t believe I said yes…what was I thinking? I glanced at the picture of me ziplining at Adventure Camp for the first time all those years ago and smiled as memories of that day came flooding into my mind like the rush of an ocean wave. The emotion I feel when I look at this photo still hasn’t changed after all these years. The lessons I learned that day still stick out vividly in my mind when I reflect on that photo.  I learned more about myself in one trip on the zipline than some learn over a decade because what I learned during this eye-opening experience was that life begins at the end of my comfort zone!  To this day, I relive the thoughts that overtook my mind as I prepared to take the step off the ledge on the zipline because the photo hanging in my room triggers the memories every time I see it.  It is the beauty of a single photograph. Viewing a photograph has the power to evoke emotions, remind people of what they value most, and to communicate about experiences we have enjoyed and shared with others. The value of taking photographs far outweighs the moments lost behind the camera lens.

Photography has the power to evoke emotions and feelings. Walk into any room of a house and chances are there are images taken from a camera, and there’s much to be learned from these images. As a person picks up the picture, thoughts and memories come flashing through their mind along with a wave of emotions.  Photos cause people to laugh, to smile, to cry, or to just remember.  One simple object, a photograph, captures a moment in time that will evoke memories for participants, viewers, and generations to come.

Photographs remind the photographer what was valued in the moment. Generally, when a picture is taken, it’s of a scene or an object that captured the person’s eye; it’s important to them to capture what they saw. Personal pictures unveil a deeper dimension of one’s personality; a unique perspective on how they see the world around them. The value of a picture is inexpressible. The true value of photographs can be seen when difficult scenarios steal the artwork, such as losing photos in a house fire or to water damage. One would think that jewelry has the greatest value, yet when faced with that situation, many people grab as many pictures as possible because the pictures hold a lifetime of memories that cannot be replaced. The importance of pictures isn’t fully grasped until they’re no longer there.

Photos help people share and communicate. Many people share their pictures digitally through social media. Photos can provide details and show emotions that the written word might fail to communicate easily.  For example, it is much more entertaining to read a post on Facebook that is accompanied by a picture than to read the words alone.  Details are transmitted through a photograph that require no words.  Sharing and communication has occurred just by posting a photo to Facebook.  Photos can fill in details and memories without using words.

An alternative opinion has been expressed that time spent taking photographs withholds the photographer from experiencing the moment.  Some say that the teen generation has lost sight of participating in actual events because they are busy snapping photos on their phones.  While that opinion may have some validity, an argument could also be made that the memory might not exist in the future, or exist vividly, without the photograph.  

Andre Kertesz, a Hungarian-born groundbreaking photographer, was quoted as saying, “The camera is my tool. Through it I give a reason to everything around me.”  The perspective provided by photography allows people to reflect on a moment in time and learn from it a day, a year, or a century later.  Life offers many magical moments that people hope to remember; the gift that photography offers is the ability to snap a moment in time that will trigger our memories and emotions just by picking a photo up. The value of taking photographs far outweighs the moments lost behind the camera lens because photography has the power to evoke emotions and feelings, photos remind the photographer what’s important to them, and photos help people share and communicate. French photographer Marc Riboud, famous for his photography in China and Asia, summed up the value of photography best by saying, “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely every hundredth of a second”.