When I had a new phone last year, I was quite shocked to find that I had over 13000 photos stored in the iCloud. 13000!! Okay, that spanned around four years of family life but that is a lot of photos. When I first saw that number, I thought that maybe that was ten years worth but no chance, just the four. That is a lot of photos!
The wonders of mobile phones are that it is all too easy to whip out your phone at every available opportunity and take far too many photos of the same thing. I am also totally rubbish at printing them out. I do look back through them from time to time and every now and then I will make a collage of photos to hang on the wall, but that is a small number, so what about the other 12900?
Looking back at some photos over Christmas, I realised something. I’m not taking many photos anymore. Long gone are the days when I would take photos daily, I think if I take one photo a day, I am doing well these days.
My obsession with taking photos started as soon as I had kids. I loved capturing the special the moments, the ordinary moments and the silly moments. Back when I had my eldest son, mobile phones resembled bricks and there was no chance of using them to take photos, so back then it was a camera that did all the hard work and a fairly basic camera at that. But that did make you print them out at least, off I would go to Boots excitedly clutching my camera film in hand. Then came the anticipation of counting down the days until they were developed. It seems like a ridiculous process now looking back but it was kind of exciting too. You could take several films of photos and have absolutely no clue what’s on any of them. None of the instant gratification of today.
Then I had an iPhone and the world changed. Suddenly I could take photos when I wanted. Around the same time, I discovered the joys of blogging and before long social media and quite early on, I started doing a 365 project. I loved the idea of capturing a whole year in the life of our family. Yes, some days, I would take a completely pointless photo in an effort to have something for that day, but I did the project for four years and loved it.
I still love sharing photos on Instagram but if I’m honest, I am also just as happy trawling through other people’s photos and stories. I don’t think I could share a photo a day any more as I just don’t seem to take many. I could probably take photos of my lunch or something in the garden, but quite often another day passes and no photos have been taken.
The children are older now and life is busier than ever, there just aren’t the opportunities to take photos in the same way as when they were younger. They are very rarely in the same room together let alone wanting a photo taken. Yet the boys in particular probably take around 50 selfies a day, me taking a photo of them is another thing altogether.
I am torn between feeling quite sad that I don’t find the time or opportunity to take as many photos anymore and a quiet sense of relief. I read somewhere recently that as parents, endlessly snapping our children’s every move, we won’t have the ability to actually remember those moments. Yes, we can look at the photos, but your own memory of the time is clouded by the fact that you were too busy taking photos.
So for now at least, I am taking so many fewer photos but the few I do take are special moments. These days it seems that I prefer living the moments I spend with my children and committing them to memory the old-fashioned way.