December 19, 2013
I GOT MY FIRST CAMERA for Christmas when I was eleven and that was that. We were a twofer. You got us both or neither, till I burnt out halfway through college. When I wasn’t taking photos for money, I was taking photos because I was expected to. My camera got heavy. It became a barrier. I started leaving it behind.
Isn’t that always the burden for anybody who documents their own experiences? I want to live inside of this moment right now, and I also want to siphon it into this little machine to save for later. My head’s in two places at once, which means it isn’t anywhere at all. I just want to attend this party and do nothing but attend this party. Isn’t that what it’s all about, after all? Being there?
I’m jaded. I leave my camera at home. I leave my phone in my pocket. I’ve stopped documenting because I don’t want to hold my life at arm’s length anymore.
Get that screen-glow off my face.
But then something will come along and remind me that it’s okay. That it’s worth it. That it’s so worth it.
Apple’s transparency here is refreshing to me. They’re laying it all out on the table: While this kid created something truly beautiful, he also spent a lot of time messing with his iPhone when he could’ve been having some truly beautiful interactions with his family.
But that’s the tradeoff. You gotta give up something beautiful to get something beautiful.
I have to take myself away from the moment—take the moment away from myself—so that I can give it away in fresh form to my family and my friends.
So that I can make it tangible.
So that it can be examined and remembered and loved.
So that I can reclaim with new eyes what I missed in the act.
So that beauty can be seen and savored and Christmas can keep tugging at all of our heartstrings forever and ever amen. Go hug your grandma! And make a video about her!