I got to spend last weekend and the days on either side with my closest, usually faraway, friends. Yesterday I shook the beach sand out of my tote bag and—sulking—attempted to remember how to do the everyday.
Today, feeling grossly away-sick (and just plain gross from five days of dessert for breakfast, drinks on the beach, and fried dinner) I looked through my vacation photos. The slide show was disappointing.
Despite being a former aspiring filmmaker, I'm not much of a photographer. (Though, to be completely fair, I always gravitated towards avant-garde video art. Never documentary.) My "technique" amounts to taking lots of shots, often from strange angles, and hoping for a handful of Good Pictures. This trip, I took a measly 78 pictures, very few of which seem worth saving.
I prefer candids to posed pictures, but I'd prefer to participate in a conversation than photograph it. So I try to focus the lens of my little point-and-shoot on the details. The tiger lilies that greet you as you leave the beach house. Five girls' worth of dipping sauce. The diabetic cat sleeping in the half-unpacked carry-on. Knit graffiti.
You are loved.
My greatest disappointment with pictures—especially those of gatherings of friends and extra-special days—is that I can never capture the things I most cherish. How do you photograph an inside joke?
Whether I'm vacationing with friends or following Westley in the park, the pursuit of a Good Picture—even using my slapdash approach—can put up a kind of emotional wall. I'm paying attention to my camera's settings and how everything looks instead of how things feel. Instead of "living in the present," I'm living in some imaginary future moment, where I look at the photographic evidence of my amazing experience and exclaim, "Yes!"
How much better it would be to remain present and take no images at all.