in Family Life, Personal Development

Why I Am Putting Away My (Phone) Camera And Taking Less Photos


Recently I saw a television show where people called in experts to help with their hoarding problems.

I watched with a dropped jaw as they revealed room after room full to the brim with STUFF. Things they have grown attached to, things they can’t let go of. The root of their hoarding sounded like fear talking: “What if I need it again someday? What if I miss it when it’s gone?”

I have never seen myself as a hoarder. Go through the photos on my computer though and my little “hoarding” problem quickly shows up. Two weeks ago, I started creating a photo book of our 2017 and it proved to be a painstaking process to go through all the photos of last year and select only a few to display. Along the way an all-too-familiar pattern emerged as well. Less than happy faces, fake smiles and 7 photos of nearly the same thing, all taken in an attempt to get the best one. My memories were clouded. Instead of remembering the happiness, I remembered the effort it took to get that one perfect shot. I started thinking that maybe I want to start having happy moments in real life instead of fake happy memories to refer to one day.

I realised too that I watched so many of my children’s big moments i.e. running races and winning awards happen through the lens of a camera and in the process completely missed the utter joy and pride in their faces. And this saddens me a bit.

If you, like me, take many photos because you are scared that if you don’t capture enough you will forget about it one day, let me reassure you.

I grew up in a house where for the most part we didn’t really have a proper camera. We have precious few childhood photos, but it has never stopped me from having some great memories. When my three siblings and I get together we have no problem remembering all the happy moments we share. Like the family holiday to a big game reserve, or the first (and only) time our family checked into a hotel. Even just baking with my granny. A lot of my childhood went by “undocumented”, yet my memories of those times are vividly ingrained in my mind.

Why I Am Putting Away My (Phone) Camera And Taking Less Photos | #motherhood #familygoals #memories | Memory keeping | Taking photos | Family photos | Motherhood | Hoarding

Annie Spratt

With today’s cameras on our phones the issue becomes even bigger. Every time we pick up our phones we become absent to the moment. We might intend to just take a photo, but now it easily turns into an opportunity to quickly check messages and e-mails. Or worse, we start editing the photo we just took, sharing it to social media immediately. Meanwhile, the moment is gone forever.

So I am planning to put away my phone more.

Instead I want to save up for a real camera and maybe some photography lessons. Because yes, I still think some things need to be captured on film. For now though, I rather want to focus on not missing any more special moments because I am looking at it through a screen. I want to be right there in the moment, soaking it in, engraving it as a happy memory and file it away to be rehashed at a later stage.

Why I Am Putting Away My (Phone) Camera And Taking Less Photos | #motherhood #familygoals #memories | Memory keeping | Taking photos | Family photos | Motherhood | Hoarding

Magda Pienaar

Magda is a mother, budding entrepreneur and a dabbler in words. She is originally from South Africa, but Perth became home in 2015. Her happy place is spending time with her husband and two boys, all 3 of them redheads! Most of her spare time goes into washing underpants and putting down toilet seats, but if there’s any left, you will find her with her nose in a book. Other passions include coffee and chocolate and sometimes she runs too. She loves encouraging women to be authentic, ignore the opinions of others and to become the best possible version of themselves.

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