I wanted to walk the streets of Seattle photographing everything. The homeless laying on the sidewalks, the way they dress here the Starbucks on every block, the totem pole in Pike Place, the rainbow colored crosswalk, the Space Needle. Instead, I shoot some things from inside a moving vehicle because these sights are ordinary to my family and I’m trying so hard not to be ‘that’ person (again).
Walking the streets of the small town of Snohomish I remind myself life is more than snapshots. I try to convince myself you can’t be in the moment from behind the lens.
But…these are my memories. Photographs of family are among my most cherished possessions. I think about how mama’s memory was stolen from her so these photographs will be important as age cast long shadows over my memories.
It seems I can’t have both and neither one do I want to let go. I want the snapshots I’ll later put in another photo book. Yet I don’t want to think about photos at all. I want to just be there, soaking in the moment.
There was a time the choice was made for us. Telephones were held down by cables and wires and didn’t leave the roof of our homes. Cameras required film and you couldn’t delete before printing. There was a financial cost to be paid if you were to snap freely as we do today, or to call out of your area code.
I wonder if the cost we pay today is with ourselves?
The acronym is FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. I think I have it. In my efforts not to miss a moment am I missing investing in those around me?
So I leave the big camera in the car, the phone in my purse and I join those around me. I make eye contact with the waiter, use his name when saying thank you.
When we visit our daughter’s house I notice the way the granddaughter sits cuddled up to her daddy on the sofa. I try to remember the names of our daughter’s co-workers, the ones I’ve never met. I remind myself being present is about others and not me. We take turns as if we’re on a child’s see-saw; I’m present for you and you’re here for me. Up and down it goes with the occasional bumps and stalls because we’ve chosen to take this ride together.
There will be time for photos. But every picture needs a story and every good story paints a picture.