We, you, me, society, your uncle, your aunt, you cousin, your neighbor, your sister, your teacher, your dad, your employer, you, me, we.
We all are in this trend of taking pictures, of documenting, of building memories, of sharing what our eyes have seen; were we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished.
To share good moments and collect happy souvenirs, to help our brain make connections that will bring us back to where we were; to the place where our heart was overwhelmed by happy hormones; to remember the laugh, the crooked smiles, the discussions, the temptations, the exclamation points and the declination of the world: A wonderful, gorgeous, splendid, candid, vivid, magnificent, pretty world.
We all have been here, hating social media, we all have been ghosts posting nothing, we all have been scrolling Instagram, we all have been posting pictures every day; we all have been trying to avoid tourist taking pictures in our pictures.
Travelling with my camera in hand, I have been wondering if I shouldn’t just carry a Polaroid camera or if I shouldn’t just limit myself to 37 photos a day. Wondering if I should not just take one and only shot per place or moment in order to capture its pure essence; only its essence.
And then it hit me: As I was looking at my pictures from Morocco, as I was amazed by the shapes of the clouds, the pure joy of my smile, the architecture of the wonderland I was exploring barefoot… I realised I was simply wrong the whole time.
It is not about taking fewer pictures, not exposing ourselves online, not being part of a trend or about being in the moment by not using any technologic devices whatsoever. As I was looking at my pictures and remembering all these souvenirs and letting my heart replenish of happiness, I realised pictures were not the barrier to my mindfulness.
Pictures are good because they help your mind get you back to a specific time and place.
Pictures are your own time-traveller ship.
It is good to have pictures, because frankly, as much as you want your brain to be self-sufficient and remember your experiences; your brain forgets. Your memory tricks you and your souvenirs are balancing between the truth and the lego brick tour of elements and blur you’re making out of them without noticing.
I surprised myself saying:” I can’t believe I was there”.
There it is, there I was.
And the only thing I hope is that I was there; that my mind was nowhere else than were my eyes were looking.
It’s not about ignoring devices. Taking pictures is few seconds of a moment. But it’s about making sure that wherever you are, you’re fully there and you are letting your eyes and mind absorb it all. Being mindful of your surroundings, yes, but making sure you are not letting your thoughts bounce up and down, not letting your worries or ideas wonder between home, the past, the future and the now.
You’ve got one shot to be at any given time and place before that moment fades into oblivion. Make sure you make the most of it by closing your mind and opening your eyes. If you surprise yourself saying you can’t believe you were there, it means you were somewhere really precious.
When you look back at pictures, you will see one thing; yourself at that specific time and place.
Make sure you were right there.