We take a lot of photos. A lot. A weeklong trip usually yields between 1,000-3,000 photos, most of which are garbage. Of course, in a life of perpetual travel, this is unsustainable.
I like taking photos. Not just for me, but for posterity. I like looking at old photos and seeing what places looked like in the past so I like to record some of the future’s past while it’s present, especially the mundane, gritty, or otherwise unremarkable. I love finding a perfect composition, capturing some incredible light and just plain freezing shit. I like looking through my photos and remembering random places and events. I also like having all of this media at my fingertips for future projects. But that begs the ubiquitous question, with all this snapping, what am I missing?
Brandy took on the heroic task of going through our vast stockpile of poorly organized photos from five years of trips. While watching her going through our Puerto Rico trip, I realized with a start that we had many incredible moments of pure beauty, opportunities for meditative silence, but I could not recall one moment where we simply sat and received it. Yes, we did have plenty of relaxation moments, but all of those incredible sunsets and sunrises and crashing waves were accompanied by dozens of clicks trying to capture the light and the splash in the right way. I am always very conscious to live what I’m photographing and get a lot of enjoyment from it, but there is a big difference between appreciating the beauty of a sunset between clicks, and sitting down and allowing it to wash over your full attention as the sun traces its descent behind the sea. You are a part of it. It captures your soul.
Our goal going forward must be to take fewer, better photos. Random clicking does nothing for anybody, especially the poor sap who has to go through them at the end of the day. Finding the great shot will help us grow our photography from random chance to purposeful composure. Taking that shot and putting the camera away will allow us to become part of the scene and live in the now of it.