Do We Really Have Time to Take Photos?

Years ago, when my daughters were children, I loved to watch them as they’d go through their days. I’d often see opportunities to take pictures, but many of those moments were lost because I didn’t have the aforethought to bring a camera along with us. Instead, I would wait until the end of the day when we were home, where I would try to re-create that spontaneous moment even though the spark was long gone.

Looking back, I would love to have those lost photos now — from dance class, the baby gym, the park, the beach, mommy and me class, and yes, even at the doctor’s office and most of the day. The pictures would be a joy, but taking the pictures, not so much.

Here’s what I remember thinking when I did pull the camera out at home or after asking their father to take a video: Standing behind the camera or standing behind my husband making faces at the girls and hoping they’d look more animated and fully engaged, I’d be wishing I was the one who was more engaged, more present. The camera was an intruder, an uninvited guest who made us all self conscious, and the simple act of looking through a lens cheapened the moment for me and perhaps even robbed them of their innocent spontaneity.

Thankfully, in the 80s and 90s smart phones weren’t available or I might have missed even more precious moments in real time, and life would have passed me by more than it had already. Like most mothers these days, I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of my children, but I also have many sweet memories that I cherish, and the satisfaction of knowing that while my daughters were splashing in the water or dancing on the stage, I was completely present with them, not focusing a camera.

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You can find more stories by Danna Colman here.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright