Managing Image Vs. Creating Self

I am going through what seems like a never-ending-debate within myself: Do I purchase a new camera? Most of the time the answer is a simple, “No.” I have a camera in my phone that does an okay job of capturing basic photos. I like it because it is part of what I carry on me every day, it is small, and it is not too distracting to pull out on occasion. However, I have to admit that if I want good pictures it doesn’t do the job. It is crap in low-light conditions, and forget about any zoom or candid motion shots. So, even though the phone camera is not supposed to be distracting, it ultimately is because I have to get my “subjects,” to stay still long enough to get a picture. From experience I know that I can do a lot more with a basic point-and-shoot than I can with my phone, and I suspect that I could take some really excellent photos with a DSLR. The question becomes: Do I want to?

Well, yes, of course I want to have better pictures. But should I want pictures at all? The hippie in me doesn’t want to spend time taking photos. Recording moments. I am of the belief that photos distract from the actual act of experiencing. Especially now, with the world of Facebook crunching down on top of us, people spend so much time editing and managing an image of themselves that I really wonder if they have enough time to create the self that they are trying to display.

Here is a picture of the sushi I ate the other day. It took me half an hour to eat, and half an hour to edit the pictures so that they had the correct, socially acceptable, “sushi-feel,” about them. Here is a picture of me posing with a statue in the park. Aren’t I sexy? Except, the way I walk and the way I talk is not sexy. It all just leads up to that one, false moment… It goes beyond our pictures. What are we choosing to share? Yes, let’s share all of the Democrat clips about the government shutdown, but do we take the time to read them, and read more than that, and then really understand the government shutdown and form our own opinions and create action based on those opinions? No, we spend our time clicking “like,” to create an image of a socially concerned citizen that “doesn’t have time,” to exist. We post about peace and meditation when we could be meditating. Oh facebook, how have you overtaken me!?! I get rather fed up with it.

So today I went through some of my old photos. I spent a solid three hours deleting albums, and condensing photos together. Deleting the ones that weren’t worthwhile. Because my experience has taught me that I will not go back and look through these photos after they have been posted. I do not spend my days reminiscing about these times. If I do go back and look at them I do not want to be bothered with more than 10-15 pictures of a single event. I am definitely over-snapping and over-archiving. I have found some solutions to this: one is photo-collages, which give an overall feeling of an experience, and the other is video-collage. I don’t mind watching a 3-4 minute video of photos as long as the photos are engaging, relevant, beautiful, and the song choice is creative. Watching these things I realized that I still do want to archive my life, especially with the coming child. I want to be able to look back on certain moments, and I want to be able to share those moments with my friends and family across the pond.

The only way I can really justify the taking of pictures within my belief against social media (I know, I use it, and I use it often. I am using it now) is to turn the photography into its artform instead of an interruption of life. An actual event of the technology rather than the technology becoming a distraction from events. It is all sort of confusing these days, and I know that I am going to have to turn off this double-monitor set-up and get outside, and remind myself of what life really is. It’s just so difficult. 

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