Sunday, May 19, 2013

Are The Words of a Picture Worth Telling?

They say that "a picture is worth a thousand words", which I believe to be a completely valid perspective. My parents are in Italy right now, and receiving picture texts from them gives us kids a wonderful picture of what they must be experiencing (pun unintended); people always ask for pictures when someone goes on an adventure, and the phrase "pics or it didn't happen!!" reflect a desire to see rather than hear of an occurrence.

I lived for three months in London, which you can read about here, and there are around nine hundred pictures that I've posted on facebook about my adventures. Nine hundred. For around ninety days. Shoot, that seems really excessive.

We were in Paris, viewing the Eiffel Tower the first night of our weekend visit. The four of us girls enjoyed viewing the famous landmark, and right at 8PM the Tower began glowing with lights all over the tower going on and off. It had already been lit like normal, and from afar these strobe-esque lights gave the illusion that the Tower was glittering all over with diamonds. We were so fortunate to watch the lovely light-show as we had just been heading back toward the Metro, and we snapped away with our cameras. After a few pictures, Taylor and I realized that we were essentially taking the same picture over and over again, so we stopped to watch the fantastic spectacle with our own eyes. We discussed the value of photographing things (it's one of Taylor's favorite hobbies!) verses the significance of enjoying the moment.

Of course, we don't want to forget the best times in our lives, and that may be part of the motive for obsessively taking pictures. However, it's okay to just stand and bask in the experiences all around. The last day we spent in Paris, we headed back to say goodbye to the Tower before returning to London. My favorite part of those thirty or so minutes couldn't have possibly been captured by a single or even series of pictures. (A video, possibly, but that's another discussion.) There were the two precious French boys racing each other back and forth across the path, the women accosting us and attempting to get our money, and the large man singing and dancing around as he strolled along, winking at anyone who made eye contact and wearing a huge grin on his face. I breathed in the cool air of winter and smell of grass while basking in the sunlight beaming down on me. It was truly wonderful. I've observed that [in general] people with pictures of their adventures have an enjoyable experience, while those who really have an amazing or unique venture don't have nearly as many.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't take pictures of the gorgeous world we live in or of the voyages we take, but that we may want to take a step back and enjoy life outside the lens. Don't be so caught up in instagramming your dinner to enjoy conversation with the person across the table from you, or snap pictures with your friends without taking the time to really know them. I've been guilty of these things many times myself, and will probably continue to be. However, I aspire to look around me and take in everything via all the senses, not just by way of sight.

Now back to the title: are the words of a picture worth telling? By asking that I mean: is it worth missing out on what's around us in order to take the perfect picture? Is it worth it to take pictures of something and by extension not actually enjoy the image before us while we're there?

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