Monday, October 10, 2011

To Snap Or Not To Snap

Barbara: I do love a good photo. And I do love the idea of having photos to commemorate certain moments in time. How much I actually look at them is up for debate, but I know they are there. And certainly with a tool like iphoto, I can scroll past them quickly, if not exactly linger on them for long nostalgic hours.

But here’s the thing: doesn’t photo-taking completely muck-up the actual thing you’re trying to capture???

Last night, my daughter came home for her high school commencement ceremony (Why in the fall??? That’s a whole other blog rant.). I was soooo excited to see her, as you can imagine. But we had a very tight schedule between her flight arriving, negotiating traffic, wolfing down dinner and getting to the school. Not to mention that my husband, very sadly, had to miss it as he was out of town for business. So we’re scrambling, the two of us, trying to catch up and trying to get out of here in (almost) equal measure.

My friend advises me: take lots of photos. Good plan: I can share them with those who can't be there! …. And then I forget the good camera.

So I pull out my iphone for the big moment and I snap away. And I miss the WHOLE THING!

I mean, I don’t know what they said when she walked up to receive her diploma, I don’t know if she was smiling, I don’t know if she hugged her teacher or shook his hand. Why? Because I’m angling and aiming and contorting to get the right framing. And what do I have to show for it? Maybe the worst photos in the history of photo-taking, these, my only keepsake mementos of a special night.
Who is that and what is she wearing?

Is it a person or a deus ex machina?
She looks so "angelic"
This probably only applies to those big events in a life, like school plays, graduations, concerts, presentations. You know, those events where you’re obliged to keep to a distance while you snap. But the question is: how much life do you miss while you’re “capturing” moments? And do we ever look at those photos later, taken from a long distance, little specks to remind us of that… thing… whatever it was?

You know what photo I wish I had? A close-up of her after the ceremony in her cute dress and surrounded by her reunited friends. Now that I would gaze at.

Deb: I have wrestled with this for years. I am a major photo-taker. Thousands of them in albums (not even kidding), but I have learned over time to pick my moments. When Luke had his grad four years ago, I sat (camera ready) and watched him walk up as they announced his name. The V.P. called out “Lucas Mochrie.” I sat camera ready as he marched up to the mic and proudly said, “Ahhh, that’s Lucas James Mochrie” with a big playful smile. Everyone laughed. I was SOOOOOO glad that I decided to wait for it, wait for it, wait for it ... because I would not have missed that for the world. The “James” in his name is for both Papas who are named Jim. How easy was that decision??? So we had our memory moment in our hearts, and then I snapped him shaking hands with the principal for our viewing posterity! Right after that snap I put the camera down in time to see him raise the diploma in the air and cheer! Another lovely one. Colin and I also take turns at events so that neither of us misses out. But I have to say, I have chilled over the years. Now I take a photo to commemorate the event, not to conflict with it. For that, I have the flip camera if I really need it. The beauty of that is, just turn it on, point it, and ignore it. So I hear you, Barb. This is a lesson I learned a while back. My family is so used to me taking photos, though, and they do endure the pain. Every once in a while, they will moan and I will snap “NEVER MIND, YOU’LL THANK ME FOR THIS ONE DAY!” They chuckle at this now familiar family joke. So there is a case of the picture snapping becoming the memory!


  1. I also love taking photos and so does my family . My family takes photos of every graduations,. And even the first time I mOved into my own place so trust me on this one there is a photo for everything. But is do feel like sometimes it's just better to just keep memories In our mind and then if we have time we can snap photos. My grandparents have taken photos of everything and every event but most of the times all you can see is just the shoulders of the people or the bottoms of things because they don't get all of the photos . The important thing Barb was that you were there with your daughter , that's the thing that she will remember the most. Memories are great to have in photo and I do love A good photo and have many of them but memories are always better to have in our minds I think more. And think about it this way at least if we have them in our minds then we can't miss place them Like I have.

  2. Oops I found a few mistakes in my post. Sorry about that. I am writing this on my iPhone and it just does not want to work with me.

  3. I rarely take a camera anywhere. I rely on others to send me photos of events. I am visual so I need to see the event and be in the moment. Someone who is better than I am usually takes my photos. If I truly want my own photo I will take my camera and usually they are not good photos. :) My sons and daughter-in-laws send me great photos of my grandkids and those are really the only photos I care about now.

  4. I think I mentioned that I took all my photos out of every album and put them in a big basket in my living room and have had more people pick up a stack of photos and can see my life in all stages. My grand kids love to look at themselves when they were little. I also store all photos on shutterfly so they are available for printing or book making always unless they go belly up.

  5. Man, I am such a big picture taker as well...sometimes too often. I can't tell you how many times I've looked through the tons of pics I've taken and say "now why did I take that?! Delete." However, this weekend though, I was at a dear friend's wedding (see our latest blog), but I was not in charge of pictures...Holly was (my camera BROKE.)

    I'm trying not to get too crazy with pictures, especially in light of very soon events to come (5 WEEKS ON FRIDAY!!!). We'll see though :D

  6. Just driving back after a great Canadian thanksgiving weekend. Am writing on my iPhone so I'll check in later when we're home, when I dont have to 1 finger type. Kisses to all!!! Barbara

  7. Three words: Photo. Taking. Fiend.

    I literally take pictures of EVERYTHING! I look back on pictures I took my first year of college and then now and it's nearly doubled!!! Guess I really want to capture these last few precious moments. I took over 1,000 pictures while I was in England and I bought a photo album that only fit 100...that was interesting!

    Anyway, pictures are very special to me. got them all over my dorm and on my computer. And Kelly and I do the taking turns thing too!! :D

  8. I love Madge's photo basket (as you know!). And I think the Holly/Kelly photo sharing is a great idea (best of both worlds). Lyndsie, you have to tell me how you log on to our site with your profile (couldn't figure it out). Thanks for your great thoughts!

  9. ok. first of all, you KNOW me & photos. you do, don't you? I always want the photo. but awhile back I realized that you can either have "the photo" or you can have "the experience." now, more often than not, I opt for the experience. the truth is that even if you had both the experience and the photo, the picture wouldn't capture TIME or the event itself, which is why we want the picture so badly in the first place. somehow, we have it wired that if we take a perfect photo, it will help soften the blow of poignant, never to occur again times in our life. the sad thing is, life marches on, with or without the photo. and as much as I LOVE having the pictures (really, I do, and I've also NOT had the pictures and regretted it) I think that the best thing to do is to dive fully into the moment and hold the picture of it in your heart, where you can pull it out anytime and it will always be as you remembered it.......

  10. What a funny post and yet, kind of hits close to home. There have been times I've held the video camera and taped my kids being silly or amazing and realized that I wasn't even watching them. I was watching them through the camera. Isn't there something wrong with that? Of course, I love to have the video in the end to watch over and over, but I've thought about this before with videos and pictures.

    Funny little story. My Gran took a camera everywhere and took pictures of us grandkids constantly. We were so embarrassed so we would pretend we were foreign visitors taking tourist pictures. You should have heard our incredibly bad Swedish accents. I look back now and am thankful to Gran for all the amazing photos she took. She had vision and was very patient to put up with us jokesters.

  11. Ah, I was so guilty of this! I love taking pictures... probably too much! I tend to be especially guilty of this during a concert! So, tweaked my picture-taking during the last concert I attended (Josh Groban, in case anyone was wondering), and came with a couple awesome pics, instead of a dozen mediocre ones!
    By the way, Barb and Deb... Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! :)

  12. Lori, so true. I'm amazed at how many good "photo memories" I have stored in my head and heart.

    Molly, laughed out loud at your story! Love the Swedish accents. Love that your Gran knew best :)

    Beth, a concert is a great example of no-point-in-taking too many photos. And thanks for the good wishes. Probably the best Thanksgiving ever this year. So very grateful.

  13. Thanks and the only way that I know how to log onto my site is two ways. Number one youu go under friends and just look me up,or you can just type in and it should bring it up. Or if you want to get in as me under my blog profile you also can also just go to the blogger home page and type in my user name and password and then you would be in under me. If you need my pass word user name just tell me. Hope that helps that would honstly be the only way I know to do it.

  14. Barb, seeing your daughter with her group of friends took you away from the world of the camera and put the focus on the moment. I bet you'll remember that picture.

    It's too bad the high school hadn't hired someone to take pictures of everyone and let you buy them if you chose to. Our high school did that. 475 of us graduated on the football field. They could have charged ANYTHING for a picture of OUR grad and parents would have paid it happily. And did.

    I have taken the requisite milestone pictures of my daughter (this minute, the next minute, the next minute, successive years of school, holidays, dance recitals). Her high school graduation also will take place on a football field, so getting a shot of her will take some maneuvering, but I'll get it. (Or else pay that hired photog his asking price. :) )

    I'm not in most of the family pics, because I always take them. The only recent pictures of me aren't just of me. They have an improviser or two in there with me. Ironically, these are the moments I'll never forget, picture or no picture.


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