Do you remember the days before the digital age when your only option for photo-taking was film cameras? That was back when you dreaded the helicopter sound that meant you were out of film, you couldn't see what the pictures looked like until you got around to taking the film in to be developed and once you had the pictures, they mostly stayed stuffed in their envelopes. There were a hundred boxes of pictures that you meant to put in albums, but you couldn't quite seem to get around to it.
Those days are behind us. Mothers need no longer worry about a lost generation of photos never seen or heard from again. A lot of people don't even bother with cameras any more, preferring the ease and accessibility of their smartphone cameras. These days we can take 50 pictures a day without fearing film developing fees or the growing mound of envelopes in the closet.
In fact, picture-taking has become so ubiquitous that some people wonder: Are we taking too many pictures and forgetting to live? Are we so distracted by the need to capture the moment for posterity that we neglect to experience it while it's happening? Every mom out there will agree that the answer to these questions is a resounding NO! We cannot agree that there is such a thing as too much picture taking, and here's why:
Taking pictures helps us live more fully in the present
This is the precise opposite of what some people believe, but it's true. We are more alert to memory-making moments because we want to be able to record them. Every twitch of a new baby's face gets noticed, and it's all worth it when you capture that very first smile on camera. Each inch the sun climbs over the mountain peaks is scrutinized as you decide when to take the picture you hiked up there to get. When you take pictures frequently, suddenly every moment seems like it might need to be recorded for posterity, and every experience appears before your mind's eye sharply in focus.
We can more easily revisit favorite memories
How often do we wish we could remember the exact hue of the flowers on the day our spouse proposed? Or that vacation last spring when life was exactly perfect? We only regret the pictures that we do not take. And with digital memory cards, those captured moments are no longer relegated to a dusty corner of the closet.
Subscription services, like the Chatbooks app for iPhone, help you to make fun, high quality photo books automatically, preventing you from leaving photos forsaken in a folder on your computer. Each time you add 60 photos, you get a printed book. It's easy. Chatbooks will even automatically make photo books from your Instagram feed.
Digital photo frames cycle through pictures you upload with a memory card. Placing a few around the house is fun for you and your visitors. No picture need ever be lost or forgotten again.
Digital photos make it easy to share our lives long distance
When family and friends live far from us, it's easy to share what is going on with our lives. Facebook is the ultimate form of photo sharing, though there are many other social media platforms to choose from as well (Instagram, Snapchat, etc.). Grandparents that can't travel to see their children and grandchildren can still feel involved in their lives by seeing and sharing pictures online. When good friends move away there are so many more ways to communicate than through the once-yearly Christmas card and a phone call on each birthday. As the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and there are unlimited ways to share pictures long distance.
We create connections with the past
Eventually, children grow up, we move away from favorite haunts, and relatives pass away. At some point, memories may be all we have of them. But memories fade and we forget. That's why picture-taking is so very crucial. In the years to come when children grow to teenagers, leave for college, get married and move away, these pictures we take now will solace our lonely evenings. We'll relive these busy, messy, beautiful days when life has gone by so swiftly. And our children, too, will feel connected with the past. Those places their parents talk about but they've never visited or can't remember will hold real meaning for them.
Yes, picture taking can be a pain sometimes. Batteries run out, cameras get forgotten, and people won't pose or hold still long enough for a photo. But we won't stop taking pictures. These images are the ties that hold our memories to us. Is there such thing as too many memories? Of course not.
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