Musings: Camera Goggles


You know the feeling. Looking at the world through technicolour filters and a plastic lens. When you see something completely astounding or breathtakingly beautiful, and your hands reach instinctively for your phone or DSLR to capture the moment before it passes you by.

Ironically, in taking the time to nail that perfect shot, it actually does.

Is every photo an obituary of a moment lost? I personally struggle with these two conflicting desires. Half of me wants to live completely in the now, taking every sight, sound and smell slowly with all my senses. But as a journalist, it’s second nature to document, to tell the story. That instinct courses through my veins. Having to find that middle ground is a constant challenge. But there’s definitely a way to have your cake and eat it.

For example, I always give myself time to relish every new experience or brush with beauty without distraction, before whipping a camera and a notepad out to document it. It’s really as simple as taking a few moments to be fully present. As a reporter, I’ve learnt that there is no way you can accurately paint a picture without first absorbing every nuance. Without sensing, there can be no authentic storytelling. Without experience, no imagination. It can be so easy to be caught up in getting the details right; making sure you don’t miss that picture-perfect moment, the Nat Geo money shot. But at the end of the day, looking back on that perfect photograph, you might find that moment devoid of memory or sensory pleasure. Being slow to reach for your camera might deprive you of a great picture, but a good shot could rob you of the whole experience and a memory. A moment you may never experience again.

When travelling, I’ve had to constantly remind myself to take off those camera goggles and remember that there is always a time for creativity and sharing. But there is no place like the here and now to simply sit and savour.

Do you sometimes feel the need to capture and document beautiful moments? How do you balance that with the beauty of being present? Share your thoughts below.

32 thoughts on “Musings: Camera Goggles

  1. I find your thoughts very realistic, I felt this contradictory feelings many times: whether experiencing the moment, or capturing it.
    I guess we should share ourselves between both. Allowing yourself to enjoy the moment is very important, but if you are ambitious enough you will also try to make your masterpiece 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ugh, I totally understand that feeling!
    I know the feeling of wanting to capture something within the moment.
    But i quickly realized that it lost a LOT of meaning.

    A photo is great for remembering and capturing that specific moment of time and place.
    But I didn’t like that I had to capture that moment to feel as though I’ll remember it.
    I most likely don’t remember anything about it except that I took that photo.

    Now a days, I take it all in before I even grab my phone or camera. It gives so much more meaning knowing that you had the opportunity to relish the beautiful moment, and capturing it. It’s gives you a whole other perspective on what that photo really means. (:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are studies showing that capturing a moment is indeed a moment lost. And the more continuous the capturing, the worse the problem. I don’t entirely remember what the phenomenon is called but probably something like “Photographer’s amnesia”.

    What it does is that the photographer, after capturing a moment, usually has no idea what transpired in between the time he decides to capture and after he has captured the scene. The problem is amplified for a videographer.

    I have many times experienced it as well. So focused on capturing a shot that I missed out on what is going on around me. So yes, you are right.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting discussion: I agree that you want to balance drinking in and being present in the moment and locking the memory. The memory that comes with looking at old photographs is a whole different experience.
    But I can recall standing at the top of the mountain and taking in the breathtaking experience with all my senses and the camera shot did not do justice to that whole experience. Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This post is soo relatable. I find myself in the same predicament. I’m a strong believer in living in the moment, but I also think how do we look back and reminisce when there isn’t something physical or tangible to look at? Still yet to understand which is better.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I totally agree with you, I have found myself often in the situation where I am obsessed with taking pictures to capture the images instead of enjoying the view. Your post reminds me again that we should live in present, thank you for that.


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