In Real Life: What I Saw Through My Camera's Viewfinder Stopped Me Cold by Tanya Kuzmanovic

In Real Life: What I Saw Through My Camera's Viewfinder Stopped Me Cold

Last summer, my son's day camp put on a performance in which he had a brief speaking part. Flanked by my two daughters, I sat front and center with camera in hand. When it was my son's turn, he moved toward the audience and there I was fumbling with my little point-and-shoot camera – looking through the viewfinder, clicking furiously – trying to capture this moment in time for all of eternity. As my son performed, the crowd laughed collectively and the woman next to me leaned in to say, “That was the sweetest thing.”

I could have cried. I hadn’t heard anything. I saw even less. And as for my photographic memories, they were nothing more than a few blurry smudges of my son in profile.

That was my wake-up call to start living IRL (in real life). Photos may be able to capture memories, but they are not actual memories themselves. I made a decision then and there: from now on, my photos would happen before or after the momentous event they were meant to document or I would ask someone else to photograph it while I enjoyed it in real time. That way, when I look back on the photo 20 years from now, I can say, “Oh yeah, I remember this.”

And actually mean it.

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Elisa Schmitz
OMG, yes. I have a couple of moments like these, Tanya Kuzmanovic . Thank you for the very important reminder to BE PRESENT!
AJ Rogers
You are so, so right with this!!

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