Switching from Spectator to Participant Mode
My husband is one of those rare individuals who seldom gives in to the lure of camwhoring. In the ten years we’ve been together, I’ve caught him do only one series of selfies on his cellphone.
You won’t see him wielding those huge DSLR cameras with the ultra long and super wide lenses. He’s never felt the need to own a simple point and shoot digicam.
I’m the opposite. I love pictures. Whether I’m taking a photograph, at the other side of the lense as a subject, or just looking at images, pictures never fail to excite and move me.
I’ve always thought my husband was just missing some kind of narcissistic gene for not wanting to keep still for a photo-op.
But one night, I inadvertently stumbled upon his real reason for shunning photography.
It happened during a concert. He caught me squinting into my camera eyepiece, trying to get the perfect shot. He took the camera away from me, held me close, pointed at the stage and said: “Enjoy the moment. Just watch.”
He was right. Without the camera, I stopped being a mere observer. I may have just been another face in the crowd, but I also became an actual participant.
Peeling the camera away magnified my concert watching experience . I could see how the performers felt their way through the barriers of a different culture. I felt how they struggled with the unfamiliarity of singing for a foreign audience. I gave encouragement by shouting my lungs out & singing along to well-loved tunes.
We connected. We bonded. The singers onstage were fueled by the crowd’s enthusiasm. They responded to it by giving us the kind of performance that we couldn’t stop talking about days later.
Today, my digicam is broken. Taking nice photos means having to lug around our unwieldy iPad to take the perfect shot. It hasn’t been as easy to capture moments as it used to be with that tiny Sony camera.
But it has also forced me to savor the moment, and made me pickier with the moments that I think are worth committing to photographs.
The memories we store in our minds are fleeting. The mind is an unreliable capturer of important occasions. But being an active participant to life as it is happening makes the moment richer, more vivid, and so much more precious.