Cell phones undoubtedly revolutionized communication — we all have a way to contact anyone, anywhere, at any time. But in addition to this method of communication, we also each bring along with us cameras every place we go. Gone are the days of regretfully wishing you brought a camera to capture the moment since a quick reach into your pocket and 2 clicks results in a forever memory, a piece of history.
However, like anything, too much of something great results in a lack of appreciation for the very thing we initially deemed a luxury. To me, the camera feature on our phones is overlooked, forgotten, and misunderstood. And it feels as though because we know we have the ability to take photos at any time, we simply don’t.
I’ve come home from family events and my mom, defeated and sad, remembers that we didn’t get a single photo–despite every single person in the room having a means of doing so. Pre-cellphone era, my mom carried her digital camera with her and crafted books and books of photo albums of seemingly every moderately significant event. So why now does it feel that everything is barely captured?
Despite having our cell phones literally with us all day long, we still make excuses for our lack of photos — I even occasionally hear people pride themselves on the lack of photos they take.
“I’m just not really a photo person.”
“I only have 300 (or some other absurdly small number) photos on my camera roll.”
“I have to delete everything anyway to make room for storage.”
“There’s nothing to take photos of.”
I am certain there are many, many people who do take advantage of their iPhone power and capture every mundane thing, left and right. Good for them. I, for one, don’t consider myself to necessarily be one of those people.
I’ve realized that we — or at least I — do take photos. I take many, many photos: photos of assignments, screenshots to ‘save for later,’ an occasional scenery photo, etc, but none of which seem album-worthy. Often my main “album-worthy” photos that I pride myself on consist of pre-planned events–posed photos in “aesthetic” places, curated perfectly to show off that very moment. However, where are the photos of the things and people I love doing mundane activities, living in the moment?
Looking back at the few cool, 90’s photos I have of my parents in college, there is one common factor: they truly are practically pictures of “nothing.” The photos seem to be taken on seemingly average days in average locations, with the subjects wearing average outfits and doing average things. This is truly the best type of photo, though, because how else can you perfectly capture not only a moment, but a time period, an authentic version of oneself in a random, uncurated moment?
Instead of prioritizing the more posed, aesthetic photos that pervade my Instagram feed, I (at the very minimum) will vouch for trying to capture the sweetness of nothing, the mundane moments of my life. I want to be able to look back at my photos years in the future and feel it accurately and wholeheartedly capture the true moment. Since we have the advantageous ability to capture everything, I have no excuse not to collect the memories.