Before I left for my vacation, a friend and I were discussing picture taking. He commented, “Oh, don’t worry about it. I’m sure there are a million photos out there of whatever you want a picture of.” Maybe that’s true. But they wouldn’t be my photos. One of the things I like about pictures, much like writing, is that they allow a glimpse inside another person’s perception. Maybe there are a million glacier photos, but in that moment, I saw it differently than other people did. No one can see it exactly the way I do. Maybe others have better pictures, but it’s a view through someone else’s eyes, which is exactly what I don’t want for my vacation photos.
Humans always have the urge to mark things that they’ve touched. Bathroom graffiti, hieroglyphics, art, tattoos, architecture. These are all ways of saying, “hey, I was here!” Even Mother Nature leaves a mark. Water wears away at rock until the marks can’t be erased.
Although perhaps my photos aren’t important to others, being able to snap that picture in that moment is important to me. No one wants to look at all 3000 pictures I took on my vacation, but there will be times I’ll enjoy looking back at them as a way of remembering.
I’m awful about picture taking. I see something interesting and snap. Then snap again. And snap some more. The great thing about digital photos is that I don’t have to take just one or two pictures and hope they turned out okay. I can see immediately if they did or didn’t, but I can also just keep snapping.
The fact that I just owned up to taking 3000 pictures on vacation may lead you to believe that I was glued to my camera, but I swear, I wasn’t. I like to hold my camera up to snap, but look at what I’m looking at through my own eyes. That’s why many of my pictures might not be centered correctly or might be crooked. I don’t always look at what I’m snapping. Yes, I want it “on film,” but I also want to see it firsthand. After all, I want to live it.