Social media has changed not just the way we share our photos but how we shoot them in the first place. And I don’t think it’s a good thing. As everyone strives to impress each other with their oh so exciting virtual lives, photos posted online have become homogenous, polished and, for want of a better word, sweet. What is absent is not the opposite but the ordinary and the mundane.
Our real memories of our lives are not made up of the good moments. We may try to forget for the most part the sad or tragic events. Our ‘real’ moments are made up of those times in between events. Certainly we’ll remember a good birthday party when we were a child or a great family holiday - but most of our best memories will consist of the ordinary. Our first trip on our own to the sweet shop to buy candy that no longer exists from a store that was torn down years ago. The street where we grew up that has been transformed beyond recognition. A train ride to the beach, not the beach itself, but their train ride there. That kid from across the road that used to play with me in my front garden, what’s his name? That time I stood crying my eyes out in the back yard being hosed down by my mother after I crawled through a rolled up sheet of fibreglass and got needle like fibers embedded all over my skin.
What I would give to have photos of those moments! Much more than the posed ‘say cheese’ smiles that my dad would snap on holidays. They were of course a necessary requirement and I’m glad we took them but I really wish somebody had also recorded those ordinary days that I now recall as a much more meaningful part of my life than the big moments.
So don’t put your phone or your camera away just because nothing is happening. The nothing may be one of the best moments of your or your child’s lives or at least your memory of them. Capture and keep it for prosperity. In the long run it will be worth far more than a visually beautiful but meaningless moment that garners hundreds of likes on Instagram from total strangers.