How about not taking your camera ?

I don’t want you to feel bad about it, but if it weren’t for you guys, I would not take a camera along with me when I travel. In fact, I was super decided on never bringing a camera again, and then I super decided myself on starting a blog, and I quickly realized that the two could not work together.

Of course, I’m human, I love looking at the pictures once I’m home, showing them to other people, and have a great Instagram feed, but I felt these “at home” moments were a small sacrifice to make, compared to how a camera can completely change the experience of traveling.

vik beach photography

I see the camera as what it is : a filter, a lens. It distorts things.

Two things actually : the NOW and the MEMORY.

THE NOW

I’ve seen all kinds of people. The kind who walk around lazily on a beach, then sit down to take a picture of their feet in the sand, and the kind that has not even looked around them that they’re already unfolding their tripod. There’s the kind that takes pictures with their ipads, and the kind that sets the timer before jumping into the picture.

How you take a picture doesn’t really matter, what matters is the attitude you have towards the landscape you’re looking at. A picture is not a place. A picture is just color, not smell, wind, noise, or even feelings. I could take a picture of a deserted side street, while in fact I’m standing in the middle of a crowd and deafened by car noises. When I think of places I loved, I can remember much more than just how they looked like.

What i’m getting at is : the picture is not really immortalizing the view, or even less the experience. The moment is fleeting. Even if you come back to this place later, it won’t be the same. You might be with someone else, the weather might be colder, the season different, or you just won’t be in the same mindset.

begijnhof statue

THE MEMORY

So, rather than trying to print the place in your camera, which is impossible, try to print it in your head. Look, be silent, try to immortalize the feeling of this moment.

For example, look at me here :

hiking turkey cappadocia

I was trying to be a good blogger and take a picture of myself. I put my gopro on a rock in the middle of my hike and walked away while it was taking a bunch of pictures. I remember setting up the camera, and thinking about what the picture was going to look like. Before that, I remember looking for a while before finally finding that rather flat rock to put my camera on, even trying at some point to balance it on a tree branch. That’s it.

I was focused on the picture. On the other hand, look at this one :

vik beach moon color light

I think this picture is crap. Honestly. Because I stood there for a long time, printing this amazing place in my head, and the reality was a hundred times better than this. I can’t see the whole place in that picture. The power behind the waves and the noise they made, the way the foam was running on the sand, the icy wind, the cold, the deep admiration I felt for this place, and the things the other people did around me.

When I think of the craziest experiences I had while traveling, I don’t have a single picture of them, because I was too caught up in the moment to think of getting my camera out of my bag. Still, I’m never going to forget these times I got lost, or scared, or so happy, or found someone I truly enjoyed talking to!

As said a very intelligent man (and not at all a character in a TV show) :

The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end that’s all there is.

Take your camera with you, or don’t. But remember to live the moment first, before starting your search for the perfect frame.

the camera conundrum pin

1 Comment on How about not taking your camera ?

  1. The question to know why we are taking pictures is difficult. Do we take pictures for ourselves to remember or for the others? Are our pictures worth being shown? Why do we want to tell stories? The lense of your camera sometimes reduce the feeling of the moment. But make a good pictures of people you met, you are happy. But you’re right, our best moments in life are not on pictures, they’re in our head, printed.Philippe

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