After going away for a weekend to the Blue Mountains I realised how much of our lives are spent looking through the eye of a lens. While I realise going to a tourist area there will be people taking a lot of photos, I wondered if we spend so much time videoing and taking photos, are we missing the experience?
Since the world of technology evolved, of having a camera on us at all times, walking around with earphones in, and having our faces hidden behind screens all the time… Are we missing the experience? Everywhere we went there were people taking photos and videoing the whole experience, which is fine, we all like to document our adventures, have photos to display either in photo albums, on our walls at home or the digital wall we have on our facebook walls. We took a few photos too, but it alarmed me that some of these people were virtually seeing their whole experience through a camera. This made me wonder what are they missing? Photos are meant to document an experience, but what will our memories be like in the future if we weren’t aware of experience? If we aren’t present will we remember the smells, the colours and the sounds? Is technology killing it for us?
I have so many memories of experiences I had that weren’t documented. If you talk to the elderly, especially the ones with dementia the memories they have are vivid of the things they have experienced. They remember the details of events that were special to them, without photos and without videos to look back on. This prompts me to ask when was the last time you watched a video you took of a holiday you went on? What do you do with those videos and photos once you posted them on social media? They say we are the most photographed generation, yet there will be no evidence of our existence. We take hundreds of photos, but we don’t do anything with them, we don’t print them, we don’t make albums, scrapbook or frame photos to hang on the wall. What we do with them instead is post them on facebook on a “virtual wall”. I have posted before about the image we try to create to present to the people we know, and this is the only place we seem to document our experiences these days. On a virtual wall, instead of for ourselves at home on our own walls or shelves to show our children, to look back through with our grandchildren, to show them what their grandparents and parents did when they were growing up. What is one of the first things you would grab if you had to evacuate your house? I have always thought that one of the first things I would grab is my family photos and important documents, and of course my cats.
With this knowledge, my husband and I decided that we would document our lives and our experiences. We bought ourselves a digital camera because we figure this is the first mistake we all make, taking photos on our phones and not printing them (although I have been known to use the Snapfish app to print photos off my phone). I bought us a photo album, we had a plan to make an album for each year, which might seem ambitious, but it also gave us a reason to engage in activities that are worth documenting… We get so caught up in life, work and day-to-day activities it’s easy to realise a year has passed and we haven’t done anything or have anything to show for it. What is the point if we don’t enjoy ourselves every now and then? There’s only so many pictures of pets and food we can take before we start to feel the photos all look the same. Granted we don’t have kids, but isn’t this the kind of life you would want for them when you have them? I would like to think we could plan a holiday each year, even if it has to be low budget or a weekend away if holiday leave is hard to get. We all need something to look forward to, something that provides balance to our lives and gives us a contrast and a reminder of why we work so hard all year. And hopefully, we will have something to show for it without sacrificing our presence.