I'll Take Pictures When I Want To

I'll Take Pictures When I Want To

A Case for Photo Addiction


Recently I've been making an effort to hold back on pictures. Taking pictures, posting pictures, Instagramming pictures, filtering pictures, all of it. Although, I'm sure my Facebook friends and fans might beg to differ.

I started hearing those voices and actually sharing the same opinion sometimes.

Not everything has to be posted on facebook!

If you're busy taking photos, how are you actually enjoying the moment?!

And my teenager's favorite...

Why do you always have to take so many pictures!

I found myself guilty of scene recreation. Something cute and adorable would happen with my kids and I'd want a picture of it. But by the time I could run and get my camera or find my phone, the moment had passed. So picture me, wrangling the kids into the same activity or position, pleading, "Do it again, please. Do it again!"

And it's not really a real picture. It's a reenactment of what I wanted to take a picture of. And nobody is happy with this - not the kids, and not the Momma. I mean, I'm not professional AT ALL. I take regular mom pictures with messy-haired kids in cluttered living rooms. But still.

So I started resisting the urge to take a picture. If I was at dinner with girlfriends having a great time, I consciously made myself resist taking a picture. And it felt good not interrupting a good time for posed pictures that would be graced with a filter and posted on facebook to document that we were all just having a fabulous time. 

I started passing on photo ops and enjoying the moment. It was nice ignoring that panic that I wouldn't capture that perfect moment until we went on a family vacation to Mexico. I was out on the reef tide pooling with my youngest and watching her discover new things, squeal at hermit crabs, explore abandoned sea shells. I thought to myself - I wish I had that moment forever. I wish I had a picture of this. But then - No! Shauna, you're living in the moment. Live in the moment, dammit!

Wait a minute. Why did I try so hard to take pictures all the time anyway? Why did I have my phone out, snapping away at every moment I could get my hands on? And why were others annoyed by this? Why would I be annoyed by this?

I don't remember a lot of Lola's first year. She is the third and final child. Which means where my first born had a baby book with careful notes in the margins, she doesn't even have a baby book. She was born right after my second son's accident so there was so much adjustment going on. That's an understatement, actually. The truth is we were treading water in a storm and could barely breath that first year. 

But I took pictures. A lot of them. Almost every day.

They're my memories now. However posed they may seem, that's what I have of her first year because I simply can't remember it on my own. I look through those pictures and it feels like it was fourteen years ago and not just almost four. I've taken thousands of pictures of my children because there's no way I'll be able to remember their first pair of shoes, their first birthday cake, her first ponytail, his first trip to Disneyland. 

And don't even get me started on the pictures of Christian's first eleven months on this earth. These are the most beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful, painful pictures that I have. But now it's all I have of that time. There is very little about Christian that resembles that baby other than his white skin and blond hair. The pictures are all I have of that Christian.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that these pictures I take are to pass down to my children or for our family to enjoy for years to come. These pictures are all for me. Every last one of them.

Yes, I will be that mom who has her phone up, snapping as many pictures as I can get. These are small moments in time I could never get back, were it not for me whipping out my camera. There are a hundred times a day I stare into my children's faces and think - I just want to keep this very moment forever. And then I do because I have a camera near by.

I've captured secret moments between Christian and Lola that have shaped my soul as a mother. And I have them forever, even when I can't remember on my own. And when my teenager lets me, I get shots of him growing up and the handsome man he's becoming. Taking pictures isn't getting in the way of living. It is living.

special needs tumble form

special needs tumble form


So now I have no rule. Whether it's staged, whether it's secret, whether it's obnoxiously snapping away at an awards ceremony, these are my moments and I'll take pictures when I want to.


19 comments:

  1. Yes. Exactly. I have a lot of moments when I get frustrated at myself for looking at my life through a lens, but I am also someone who goes through my photos ALL the time. I have boxes and albums full of photos from my childhood that capture memories that would be too vague by now. I love to reminisce and I cherish them SO much. Every time I live an amazing moment and don't take pictures, I wish I had, so now I take advantage of having a camera phone to immortalize them. PS- Love the pic of Christian and Lola with the static in her hair. Too cute.

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  2. This is so well said!! I take a lot of pictures, too, and at times I do force myself to resist the urge to snap away, but it's a big part of who I am. I like to document moments, document my children's lives, document my special memories. There is a fine line balancing the urge and forcing a picture or heck, actually catching "the moment" on camera. I'm always grateful I have pictures to look back on. My kids are still pretty young, but as the grow older I keep telling myself the picture-taking will slow down. But who knows, I guess I will just have to "take pictures when I want to." One thing I am definitely learning is that I love candids and if I don't get the "best" shot, that it wasn't meant to be. Not every photo has to perfect either. Capturing unsuspecting moments of my kids is priceless. Thanks for the good read!

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  3. I totally understand! I'm always taking pictures. :) Snap away momma!!

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  4. Ahhhh yes. Sometimes I feel so conflicted about whether or not I am missing the moment if I am busy taking pictures. I have taken thousands of pictures since my son was born and look back on them and relish how tiny and sweet he was. Those days seem like a lifetime ago and without those pictures I would not be able to recall and retell the stories of those moments. Words and pictures are how we document many of our greatest memories.

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  5. I struggle with this. It got really bad for awhile where all I was doing was looking through the lens. I made myself stop for a while and now I have a pretty good balance of lens time vs no lens time. I agree though these are our moments to use for memories, embarrassment and showing our grandchildren (such a scary thought) what their parents were like when they were their age.

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  6. I am terrible at getting pictures! But I ALWAYS wish I snapped more! Snap away girlfriend!!

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  7. I agree with you completely. I have hundred if pictures in file from my Kiddies that if I hadn't been snapping them those memories would be lost. Hubby and I look back in them often and laugh remember and simply smile. They are our moments and the pictures help us keep the safe and sound when we want them. We even share the Kiddies baby photos with them and they are always in awe that they were that small. They even remember some of the moments. So yes. Take out your camera your phone and snap. Keep your memories for YOUR sake.

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  8. oh I'm guilty of this, "smile again, go stand over there again, just one more!" E has said more than once ," why do you have to take so many pictures?" Um, b/c you are only little for a second!!!! Love those pics you shared, so sweet!

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  9. Awesome post! Yes! My family has compared me to a tourist, because I'm always snapping pictures. I'm SO thankful for all the moments I've captured because of this.

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  10. i know this too well. Short story: when I was a kid my dad walked around with his old school SLR camera and a video camera. everywhere. we. went. The video camera was a monstrosity that was attached to a VCR type thing where he VHS was inserted and he had to where that around his neck while he held with two hands the video camera that looked like something a sound grip would use to film a movie. This is the person that gave me my obsession with photos. so really, it's not my fault that I am a photo junkie. i blame my father entirely... whose birthday it is today. Happy Birthday, dad.

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  11. I love this post!! I used to wonder why I spent so much time creating scrapbooks for my kids. Then when my oldest was a couple years old he wanted to look at his. Ever since he has wanted to look through his book and he asks me about the pictures and the events and I get to relive them every time I tell him about the page. I love it. And every once in awhile he'll see something and remember a story I told him about when he was a baby as we looked at a picture. Then we get to smile together like it's an inside joke. Snap away, Momma - then you can relive those moments again and again instead of just having them once! :)

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  12. I constantly take pictures of my daughter :) I think every mom does and I think the moments you've captured between your son and daughter are beautiful.

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  13. I do aim for balance, there are times when i want to savour and enjoy the moment, i want to see with my eyes not through the lens. I also aim to capture enough photos to tell a story, my story, the kids story and our family story. I have no hard and fast rules each moment is unique. Happy Sharefest

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  14. You take as many pictures as you want! I also am a camera junkie but its only because I have NO pictures of my childhood. There are no baby pictures, no missing teeth pictures,etc... I can't allow that for my daughter so I'm always snapping away. Like u said "It is living". #SITSsharefest

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  15. I'm about to have my first child, and I can only imagine how many pictures I will take (or will be tempted to take). It's hard--as you said, you want to live in the moment, but you also want to capture the moment to remember later. My parents took quite a lot of photos when I was growing up--my mom has put together tons of albums--and I have to say as I got older and to this day I enjoy flipping through them and seeing pictures of my sister and I, family members who have since passed away, and childhood friends from 20+ years ago. I do hope to recreate the same experience for my own children, but with the easy access to photo technology I imagine how hard it must be to not do it all the time! Stopping by from Sharefest.

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  17. I take pictures all of the time and I'm probably never going to stop. I just love the feeling I get when I am behind a camera...it relaxes me. :)

    Visiting from the #SITSSharefest. Have an awesome weekend! :)

    Tami
    http://www.tami-marie.com/

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  18. Take all the pictures you want. You make a great point.I'm the complete opposite.I don't take enough and then I'm left wondering how the night ended or trying to remember what we did. I'm just not good at whipping the camera out. I have a nice zoom camera that I have not touched in about a year.Kudos to you for taking those beautiful pics of your kids.

    Keep it Touched,
    KG
    www.kgstyleblogs.com

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  19. "Guilty of scene recreation" is hilarious. I know exactly what you mean. I've done that. I was thinking about the whole photographing it vs. living it for a while. At first I thought it sort of enhances the experience by adding a layer of creative joy, but you make such an astute point about starting recreate moments and making it more about the picture than the experience. I've been doing the same with blogging (i.e. spending too much time on my computer to write about stuff rather than live it) and I went on a cleanse today. Must say it felt good. Great post! -SITS -

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