The last few weeks have been a strange time for me; for the first time in more than a year and a half I have gone without using my trusty Sony NEX-5 digital camera.
Don’t be alarmed – Nexie is fine – but she is just getting a bit of well deserved cleaning and maintenance after enduring tramping trips, festivals, backpacking, a near-drowning in Polish beer and several impacts that would destroy a less sturdy camera. (By the way, you can see some of her work on my Flickr account.)
But the break has been interesting.
Maybe it’s because my formative photography experiences were as a print journalist, where you are always cautious of missing a photo opportunity, but when I have a camera in my hands I become consumed by a snap-happy demon.
Any opportunity, *snaps photo*.
So, being forced to do nothing when I would normally whip out my camera has made me realise how often I do this.
This makes me further wonder: How often am I missing the moment which is unfolding right in front of me, because I am staring at my camera display?
A concert where everyone is recording with their cameras and cellphones, a mountain vista where the crisp alpine air is stirred only by the insistent clicking of an automatic panorama capture, a long-awaiting meeting of friends where you have to pause for the requisite snapshot.
This article by Brianna Wiest touches on this idea, among others, as being a typical development in the digital age. Is it something you can choose to embrace or instead, disengage from? Or is it an unavoidable part of a modern life?
Either way, it is a nice break (which is continuing because my last memory card and my external hard-drive have simultaneously given up the ghost) and I hope to stay mindful of maintaining a balance between enjoying and documenting the moment.
I’m intrigued to hear about other people’s experiences of this; have you have a similar realisation or ways of dealing with this challenge?
Oh, and here are some photos I took two Sundays ago.
The Berlin precincts of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg had their annual Wasserschlacht (a food fight/ battle for the Oberbaumbrücke bridge over the Spree River and I just had to borrow my friend’s camera to take a few pictures. Maybe I will never change.