Shutterbugs

Saturday we had the first of two baby showers for my niece, and multiple people were taking pictures, which was hardly surprising. I had to wonder, though — does anyone ever end up looking at these?

We had my uncle shooting away, simply because he’s a gadget freak and a big fan of his camera. I really wouldn’t be surprised if he just took pictures until the card was full, and then bought another camera.

We had Patience’s mom shooting away. Okay, she’ll probably show these pictures to some friends and whatnot, but I suspect most of the pictures were more of the baby and people holding her than anything else. And she’s hardly going to remember everyone’s names.

My mother was the worst. She was taking pictures of this, that, and everything else. People, stuff, baby, presents. My cousin doing a yoga handstand. Her sister doing gymnastic splits (don’t ask). She was displeased with me that I didn’t take a picture of the cake before we cut it up. Fortunately, the day was saved — my uncle had taken a picture. Umm, seriously? It’s a cake. Who cares? That and my mother can barely download pictures off the camera onto her computer, and when I’ve helped her with it, there tend to be pictures going back months.

It’s like tourists you see with cameras glued to their faces, so busy photographing wherever they are that they never SEE or EXPERIENCE where they are. Your memories of a place or event are going to come only through really being there and participating in it. Photographs are like accessories or props. This is what that gorgeous old carving in that church looked like. There is the funny old man, singing opera and feeding pigeons.

If you’re obsessed with taking pictures so you’ll be able to remember it all you’re going at it all wrong. If you’re not paying attention in the first place, of course you won’t remember, and all the pictures will be empty of context and meaningless anyway.

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