“Do you want to have a picture or a moment?”
Last October I attended NerdCon: Stories in Minneapolis and one of the authors in attendance was Patrick Rothfuss. He went to college in my hometown, so I knew I wanted to meet him. I attended his first scheduled signing and sat in the crowd of devoted fans. When he came in, he stopped to thank us for coming and told us how the signing would work. And he said, (paraphrased, because it was back in October, #oldage): “People are often so focused on getting a picture. While signing your books, I have about 30 seconds to spend with you. In that 30 seconds I can sign your books and we can chat and have a moment, or we can take a picture. If you want a picture, that’s totally fine and legitimate. But decide if you’d like to have a moment, or if you’d like to have a picture.”
I wanted to have a moment. I wanted to say, “Hey, I grew up in the town that you went to college.” That, to me, was more important than having a picture. That’s what I’d like for every part of my life; something I decided when I realized I was so intent on capturing memories that I was experiencing them through a camera lens.
I don’t want to live life through a camera lens. I want to find the balance of taking a picture to have a visual documentation of the memory, but also soaking up the moment. It might be the wrong thing to say, especially as a blogger in the day and age where every outfit, brunch and donut is documented. It’s why I don’t always have photos of the things I do. It’s why I often don’t have the “perfect” photo.
It’s also the reason I made a very un-blogger-like decision when I went to Leticia: I didn’t take my camera. Logistically, it worked better to use a carry-on other than my camera bag to travel from Bogota to Leticia and I didn’t want to lug my camera around when we went on our excursions. I knew I’d miss out on some cool shots (like wild sloths that my DSLR would have captured so well), but I wanted to take in those moments and enjoy them without a camera plastered my face. I wanted to be free of the stress of making sure my camera was safe and protected; of deciding when I should pull it out and when I should put it away. (And it’s not like I’m lacking in cool photos from the Amazon!)
Different people have different purposes, but I think it’s a question worth considering. We need to decide if we’d like to have a moment or if we’d like to have a picture and we need to find our perfect balance in that mix.