Photography and the Lost Art of Making Memories

To snap or not to snap? That is the question.

We live in a time when cameras are always within arms reach. As moms, we want to document all the fun and beautiful moments our kids display for us. We want to share these wonderful happenings with our friends and family and have them as keepsakes.

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But when is it time to put the camera down and just observe life?

I struggle with this! As a photographer, I love having my big camera on me whenever I take the boys somewhere new and exciting. If I don’t have that with me, there is always my phone camera. And from there, I can post directly to social media or I can text photos to my family – because we have the longest group text in the history of all group texts! My parents live a couple of hours away and my dad travels for work a good part of the year, so sometimes they can go several weeks without seeing my kiddos. Photos allow them to feel present for more events.

The reason I asked myself this question recently was because I wondered how much time I was spending worrying about capturing the perfect moment on my SD card as opposed to capturing the moment in my memory. An image was circling the internet several months ago. It was an older woman in a crowd of people, all with their cameras drawn, trying to capture some moment in history. The elderly woman was the focus because she stood there with nothing in her hands – she was just observing. It was mind-blowing for our generation. People were astonished to see this photo and couldn’t stop sharing it! It went viral! Which is ironic, since it was a photo…of a woman abstaining from taking a photo…surrounded by people taking photos.

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Somethings are worth taking the time to photograph. But do I want my kids to grow up seeing my phone in my hands constantly? Do they need to see 17 shots of them on a swing to believe that it actually happened or that we love them? That we were there for these events? Do they need to see photos at all? I doubt it.

My dad was the third boy in his family, and 18 months after he was born my grandparents had a baby girl. There are literally no photos of him! He likes to joke that he was forgotten and unloved, but we all know that’s just not true. His parents cared about all of their children, they just didn’t have the time or the means to photograph every event in each kid’s life. And that’s all right! My grandmother can recall all sorts of memories of her kids growing up. It’s really OK that we don’t have photos to go along with EVERY story.

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I love taking photos of my kids. They’re cute. I like to share them and display them, they do funny things. And it works out, because I literally ALWAYS have some kind of camera with me. But I try to fight it. I try to be present in the moments and enjoy my sons while they are with me. It’s not always easy but it’s doable. If you feel like this is something you struggle with, I really think you should give this a try; put the camera down! Play with your kids, laugh with them, enjoy them. In the long run, they will be happier that you spent the time watching and interacting with them.

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So my friends, take a photo or two of your kiddos at that soccer game or the school play or the playground, but enjoy the moment and soak up those memories with your own eyes. You won’t regret it.

 

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