Monday evening we got back home from a week of family vacation. It was a wonderful trip. But it was also one of the *those* trips for me. A trip where despite having packed my camera, I didn't touch it once. Oh don't get me wrong, I took lots of photos with my phone. I just never once pulled out my actual camera. Now this wasn't entirely intentional, I intended to take some family photos at the beach but a stomach bug wiped out any energy I had and family photos got tabled. Still, a lot of my not picking up the camera *was* intentional. There was a time in my life where I always had the camera in my hand, I was so desperate to document everything. And while that sounds wonderful in theory, at some point I realized that I was so obsessed with getting photos that I was missing the moments. Not only that but I was then either spending forever processing photos or leaving them untouched and forgotten on my computer. I realized that if I wanted to capture the beauty and wonder of life, to make good photographs I had to first make good memories. So I started to choose. I started to very intentionally choose when and where I'd get out the camera. Since we live in the era of the smart phone I was able to choose when was a phone moment and when was a real camera moment. I still take photos literally all the time. It's as automatic a habit as breathing. But I'm careful, I make very careful decisions about when I bring out the camera. Because if I'm taking a photo on my phone its a quick snap, it either works or it doesn't and I never truly leave the moment. But my camera can consume my whole attention. So even though I often bring it so that I have the option, the camera usually stays in the bag. Instead I take a quick photo on my phone, I show it to my kids and we smile and laugh and I remember the moment itself for all that it was.
I'm a photographer, why am I telling you about how I don't always take photos? Here's why: whatever it is, whether it's your camera or something else, if you find yourself being pulled out of the moment by something then stop. Take a breath. Put it down. Live. Photographs are so very very important y'all, but they're nothing without memories.