On Documenting Our Life in Pictures

On Documenting Our Life in Pictures

On Documenting Our Life in Pictures
Have you noticed that certain topics gain popularity, popping up again and again on various blogs? The current topic du jour — at least in my corner of the blogosphere — seems to be our culture’s obsession with social media and especially with picture taking. The posts I’ve seen suggest that our relationships are shallow, our experiences lacking and our priorities misplaced because of camera phones and sharing photos on social media. They go on to recommend that we “get out from behind the phone” and actually experience life rather than just taking pictures of it.

While I certainly understand the sentiment — and I will admit that I have to monitor my social media usage just as much as the next person — it’s almost as if it’s become trendy to talk about the negatives of social media and taboo to admit you actually enjoy it or think it’s a good thing.

On Documenting Our Life in Pictures

I’ve shared my love for social media (and using it in a way that feeds my soul) before, but today I want to address the picture-taking conversation specifically.

For me, taking and sharing photos isn’t something I do just for social media, and it’s not something I’m likely to give up any time soon, for one simple reason: I have a horrible memory, and many moments would be lost to me forever if it wasn’t for the pictures I’ve taken.

I literally have tens of thousands of photos since our oldest was born, and I love to scroll through them and remember all of the moments I would have forgotten otherwise.

On Documenting Our Life in Pictures

And honestly? Snapping pictures of the moments that I want to remember takes very little time away from experiencing the actual event.

I can take a video of the girls’ piano recital with a huge grin plastered across my face as I watch them perform the pieces they’ve practiced.

I can quickly snap a picture of the baby splashing in the bathtub for the first time before setting my phone down and focusing my attention on his giggles and splashes.

I can yell for everybody to “freeze!” so I can capture a moment on camera before we continue on our way.

Will my kids remember me with my phone held in the air trying to capture the perfect shot? Probably. But I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing.

Parents have been taking photos for as long as cameras have been available, but juggling a big camera with multiple kids, diaper bags, lunch sacks, etc. can be cumbersome and frustrating. That’s why camera phones are so popular: they make it easy to grab the shots that we might have otherwise missed.

There are definitely times when I’m not able to take any pictures (I didn’t get a single photo on Christmas morning last year because there was so much going on), but there are also plenty of times when taking a photo ensures the memory will be mine to recall in the future rather than lost to time like so many other little moments.

That is why I take photos of the big occasions and the everyday ones. It’s why I try to focus on the beauty of our life rather than the stress and frustration.

And yes, I like to add an artistic touch to my photos when I can — a filter here, a creative angle there. But it’s not for the sake of social media, to show off, or to pretend my life is perfect. I do it to document the things I want to hold on to. Getting to share those moments with other people — like our parents and grandparents and friends who I rarely get to see in person — is just an added bonus.

On Documenting Our Life in Pictures

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s been more than 24 hours since I’ve taken a picture of my sleeping baby and I’m getting twitchy.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I LOVE this–I totally agree! I am so thankful for the pictures I have to capture all of the moments that are a part of our family.

  2. This is so true. While I understand and even agree to a certain extent about putting our phones down and participating in life, I love have photos of those everyday moments. Like you said, it’s not always practical to whip out the nice camera but the phone is so easy and thanks to apps we can easily make those phone photos look like we took them with the nice camera 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for writing this! I agree! I am so thankful for the ability to take photos on my phone and share them with people we love. I was just looking back at some videos I took of my daughter on an older phone. She’s going to be 5 in a few days and it was so sweet to look back at those videos and pictures of her when she was little.

  4. Love the blog, just found you this morning & enjoying every read. There are programs in various parts of third world countries where cameras have been provided & also photographers have donated their time to go in & take shots of families who would never have any picture or document to capture their family. There are some cultures who are so fearful of the camera they believe it can take the soul from a person. I think it captures the soul at work 🙂
    As a Mum of a child who died at 3 yrs & 4 mths from cancer, I couldn’t have enough photographs of memories & I’m usually the one taking them & absent from many of the pics which I’ve been reminded of. I love now the features on smart phones to be able to reverse the lens & capture all of us at the same time making memories together.
    Even if we look at the psychology & neuroscience of memory, no two people will have the exact memory of an event & it means different things to different people. As we age our memories can become distorted, some may be lost altogether.
    I love looking back at pictures of the kids when they were babies & through their development & as my youngest daughter was born 8 years after my son died, the photographs & videos help to tell his story. After reading ‘Grandmas Shoes’ & a discussion on grief & loss, decided to create a journal/book of her brother’s story.
    Keep taking pictures, the more memories we capture the longer we can look back & enjoy where all the time has gone.

  5. Love it – I’m the same way with my memory. I’ve also been taking lots of pictures and videos for my husband to see the kids while he is deployed and far away.

  6. So true. Nothing wrong with capturing memories, particularly of and with those we love. Regarding social media bashing, there is both good and bad, it’s up to us what we look for… Thanks for sharing your blog with us.

  7. I love this post! You echo exactly how I feel about it. 🙂

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