It started as a hobby. When I was a kid, I would set up my dolls and snap pictures of them using a bed sheet as a background and a pile of books as a prop. I loved the Kodak disposable cameras and would take selfies in my room as a teenager. I collected books and devoured magazines just to look at the pretty pictures.
When I became a mom, my hobby turned into an obsession. I felt this insatiable need to capture every single moment of my daughter’s day. If you were to go through all of the photo albums in my house you’d see the results of my obsession. It was around the time my second daughter was born that I felt a desire to capture those everyday moments just a little bit better. I spent my days reading photography blogs and practicing with my DSLR.
The more pictures I took, the better I got. And people started to notice. I was asked by family and friends to take pictures of their children. And then I got my very first paying client. It felt so good! That paying client eventually turned into a thriving business and something very interesting happened. I stopped taking pictures.
As my business grew, I stopped taking pictures of my own kids. I would pull out my fancy camera for special occasions only. The first day of school, a birthday, a dance recital, school performances. But I stopped recording the every day stuff. Saturday mornings when my girls would climb into our bed. The times we were together doing ordinary things – getting ice cream, taking a walk, going on a bike ride. It felt like a burden to bring my camera everywhere. I had client galleries to edit. I didn’t have time to work on pictures of my own kids.
It was my cell phone that actually helped me rediscover why I first picked up my camera. Because it’s with me all the time, I’m using it to capture the every day moments again. Dinner dates and playing with the dog. Going to the movies with friends or playing at the park. All of the things that I want to remember, but don’t want to lug around my fancy camera for. You see, it doesn’t matter which camera you use, as long as you use it.
I pick up my camera to capture life as it happens, but I also know when to put it down. I don’t always want to experience things through a lens. I want to be there and be present. And see things with my own eyes.
Yesterday, my youngest daughter rode her bike while my husband and I walked the dog. I took out my cell phone and snapped a quick picture of her because she had on mismatched clothes and cowboy boots. It was so her. Crazy curls peeking out from under her helmet and the hole in her smile after losing another tooth. After that, I stuck my phone back in my pocket and enjoyed the summer sun.
I pick up my camera to collect moments and store them away for a time when my memory fails me. Why do you pick up your camera?