Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Free to Take Less Pictures

I have really missed blogging.  Wes jokes that I'm borderline addicted now!
I just love documenting the lives of my babies and I LOVE looking back over the pictures and posts even more.
And I do regret letting the blog go for so long!

However, Wes is right, it can be addicting.  Not in the self-defeating ways of other addictions, but in a different way.
In a more-interested-in-documenting-life-than-enjoying-life kind of way.
I don't want to experience my children's reactions to something through the lens of my camera.
I want to see the real thing, I want to feel their emotions, not only capture their emotions.
I want to be part of their reaction to things, to see things through their eyes, not the artificial eye of my camera.  I can look back over a zillion pictures of them and I would remember the day and the event and taking the pictures that day, but would maybe not remember the way they felt.  Remember the feelings, not only the visual that's captured by a camera.
Things that you can only remember by being a part of it.  

This hit home one time when I took the kids to an indoor playground that we frequent.  I am totally that mom that is climbing the play equipment with my kids (when allowed....sometimes even when I'm not allowed....the begging pleas of my children to "Come play with me, Mommy!" outweigh the 'Parents not allowed on play equipment' in my opinion.....I'm such a rule breaker, I know.  And, if you know me well, that made you laugh because I am definitely not a rule breaker!).  

Okay, back to what I was saying - I am that Mom that will run and jump with my kids, climb with them, sometimes even get caught in the foam/ball pit with them.  My kids and I aren't always the best choice to invite on an outing if you're hoping for some adult conversation.  Not because I don't also crave grown up talk, especially with other mamas.  Oh do I!  But, because I'm usually found chasing my kids around trying to play with them as opposed to standing in a group of other moms.  Maybe it's just the age of my kids..... 

Okay, I digress....again.  Back to topic.

On one trip to this indoor playground, there were a few other moms and their children there.  I swear to you, all of these moms were snapping pics with their phones and/or cameras every second.  Literally everything their child did was a potential picture.  They were constantly barking commands to "Smile!"  "Look at Mommy!"  "Where's the camera?!"  "Smile so we can show Daddy!"  "Look!  There's a big, purple bird on my head!"  Not only was the constant picture taking obviously interferring with their own children's ability to have fun, but it was also disrupting the fun of my children.  We were having to constantly stop to allow for the pictures to be taken.  Finally, I just started ignoring them and no longer attempted to keep my kids out of their pictures.  It was; however, annoying.  And it wasn't even me they were trying to photograph lol!

Then, I got real with myself.  That is me sometimes.  I want to capture every thing my kids do.  I want to get a tangible, frozen memory of them playing, smiling, enjoying, hugging, kissing, laughing, swinging, sliding, building, flipping, jumping, reading, growing, even fighting.  I do.  I have barked those exact same things to my kids, right down to the purple bird.  I have had my kids give me the same "Enough already" look.  Gracie even went through a period where anytime she saw my camera she said, "I no picture!"  And Tucker went through a phase where anytime I pulled my camera or my phone out, he immediately hid his face.  

Our kids don't want to have to stop their fun, or whatever else they're doing, so we can take pictures of the fun.  I wouldn't either. It's disrupting their fun.  These kids at the indoor playground were not able to just play.  They were being interrupted by their mom's need to have the perfect picture.
I'm not bashing those moms.  Like I said, I am that mom.

For me, it's hard though.  

Last week, I realized just how hard.  We took the kids sled riding.  We finally got some weather that was warm enough to actually be outside in.  We decided to bundle them up (which took about 30 minutes), and drive to a perfect location for sled riding instead of settling for the small hill in our backyard.  I intentionally left my camera at home.  I knew that I would have my phone if I wanted to snap a couple shots or record a quick video (and I did), but I didn't want to be following them around with a camera telling them to "Smile!"  I wanted to be in on the action, be part of it, without my camera strapped around my neck.  And, I also wanted my kids to be free to enjoy the time as well, without Mommy barking orders to "Look this way!"  I mean, they don't really want to look at my camera all the time either, especially when there's so much beauty to be looking at.

What are they missing while I'm making them look at my camera??
What fun didn't they have because they had to smile at the dang purple bird??

So many times while we were sledding I thought, "Oh I wish I had my camera!"  I even voiced it to Wes a few times.  The evening light was perfect.  Tucker and I made the perfect snow angels right beside each other.  However, had I actually had my camera with me, I might have snapped a billion pictures of him making his snow angel and not fallen in the snow beside him to make my own.  Even though I don't have the picture to prove it, I have the memory in my heart of making a perfect snow angel along side my own sweet snow angel and the look on his face as I pulled him up out of the snow and he smiled ear to ear with snow flakes twirling around his sweet face to inspect what he had just made.
I got to see the real thing, not the 1.5 x 3 inch version.
Nope, I don't have the picture, but I have the feeling forever.
There IS a difference.

Now, don't hear me say I'm going to stop taking pictures.  
Definitely not.
I'm sure my next post will be flooded with pictures.
I just want to allow myself some freedom to not feel obligated to capture every moment on film.
Free to live inside the moments.
Free to be part of the moments....more.
Free to take less pictures.
And I want my kids to be free to enjoy uninterrupted fun.  

I've decided possibly a happy medium would be to take a few pictures at the beginning of an activity.  
Then, dive in and forget the camera....for the most part.  Maybe snap a pic here and there....of whatever the kids are doing, looking or not.  More so sneaking pictures in occasionally.

I don't know, what do you think??

ps, Despite what I want to do, I'm posting this post without including a picture of my adorable kids.  It's not easy :).


Mommy Webb said...

Great post, sista! Def some great thoughts. That is why I love taking pictures of my kids everyday lives without them even realizing it - I want to capture them just being themselves and enjoying playing or eating or whatever it is they are experiencing. I don't do as well with posed shots (ha, I think I have used the bird on the head comment more than once;). I find that taking pictures around our house is so laid back and cathartic for me:). I am loving catching up on your blog - speaking of pics, you have some amazing shots on here!!

Tiffany Keene said...

Definitely agree with ya, Rach! And I do a ton of random, in the moment picture taking around these parts as well. But, do struggle when we're out doing fun stuff to not snap a million photos and just enjoy what's going on and what they're experiencing :). I can tell from all your amazing photos that you have mastered the art of sneak-photography :).

Anonymous said...

I'm not a mom, but this applies to me too. I love to capture moments but I have to tell myself sometimes that I can't capture moments if I'm never living in them in the first place.