I love Instagram just as much as the next girl. I get excited when I see new likes or comments on my photos, and I love looking at the perfect images others capture. However, when I witness people living their lives and stopping to rearrange the table for the perfect shot or trying to make their children stand in just the right way and laugh at just the right time, I can’t help but wonder if we really need to Instagram it all.
We are a culture obsessed with self documentation. We have an endless stream of photos capturing various events, day-to-day happenings, and the like. We keep each other informed up to the minute of what we are doing and who we are with, all for some validation that our lives are worthy and important (we shouldn’t need the regard of others to feel this, but that’s a post for another day). Some might consider it vanity and, frankly, I tend to agree. There is something inherently self-centered about the frequency with which we photograph our lives.
Now, I definitely love taking pictures and creating photo books and recording my life, however the difference lies in that I do my best not to allow this documentation to take away from my enjoyment of events and the attention I give to those I am with. This is something which was put into perspective for me by my father. I remember, on family vacations, my mother would like to stop us and get a picture of us when there was beautiful scenery or we were at a noteworthy site. My father would always say, “No one had a picture of themselves before the early 1800s, and they all got through life just fine.”
I challenge you, the next time a perfect Instagram moment comes your way, to resist whipping out your phone to capture it and instead making note of it in your mind. A few days later, let’s see if you think to yourself, “I should have Instagrammed that,” or if you can simply enjoy the memory of the moment in your mind.
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