I learned it the hard way.
I recently lost 2 years in pictures. I don’t even have the heart to recall what all I have lost. I was unable to manage the overwhelming amount of pictures. My entire laptop space was of pictures (talk about digital clutter!). Most of those were of my son, doing all sorts of things, on all sorts of occasions. I have lost all those pictures. Now, I have nothing. In a way, I lost part of my son’s childhood, which I do not have precise memory of because I was too busy clicking the perfect shots.
My first reaction was of denial. I thought we will be able to recover it but recovery is very, very expensive. I decided to let go. What really came out of clicking insane number of pictures! I could have ‘lived’ those moments better, not interfering with the natural flow of things by taking out camera to click those moments.
It is akin to the habit of taking notes during lectures. When you are caught up in documenting every single thing that the lecturer is saying, you postpone understanding. You think you can always understand it later. But that’s a huge mistake.
And how can I not mention our wedding, or any wedding for that matter. The whole occasion is a massive photo opportunity, clicking so-called ‘candid’ moments. Why? Because you will have those pictures all your lives to relive those moments! All I remember of my wedding is the photography. I remember nothing else. I do remember the time when I was leaving for my in-laws’ place because at that time nobody was bothering me for pictures neither was I thinking about pictures. I was in the moment, feeling the emotional turmoil of how things were going to change forever.
In capturing every small thing in pictures, I was thinking I was keeping perfect memories. But if I go by this research, I have been wrong all along. It says “When people rely on technology to remember for them – counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves – it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences.”
Honestly, you don’t require any research to understand that when you are just happy in the moment, not bothering about whether you are clicking perfect pictures of those happy moments; you cherish the times more.
Last year, we spent an afternoon chasing butterflies and finding ladybugs. We never bothered to click pictures. And I still remember how wonderful that time was.
So, it makes sense to take fewer pictures. Experience the moments. Capture the beauty of lovely sunrises through your eyes. Feel the thrill of your child’s gestures through your heart. Definitely take some pictures, but not 30 shots of the same frame because it never gets pared down. It just becomes a monstrous data which you just cannot backup. Ask me!
Trust your memory more than your camera.