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.