I made three new year’s resolutions this year and one was: Be Present. And for the most part I have. I don’t use my phone or computer in the presence of any friends anymore. I check my phone twice a day. I have 0 things that give me notifications and my phone is always on silent. I also look back on memories less and I think less about the future, and I focus more on this moment right here now.
But that’s only half-assing it.
Why do we take photos?
As soon as you take the phone out to take a picture, you now are not fully present. It is something that being captured for others, for later, for the future, for another time (and how many times has the photo ever been a true representation of something you saw that was incredible?)
If you see a whale in front of you on a cruise, or an eagle lands on a fence in front of you, or you’re at some amazing sporting event or concert, you are there to be there, not to capture it and look back at it at it later (and actually how easy is it to just go on google images and get 11382 billion photos similar to the ones you could take anyway?
And does avoiding using your camera to remember something actually train your brain to remember the events better in your mind, and also remember those times when you can’t use your camera, aren’t able to take photos or when it’s inappropriate to?
My friend Matt and I have a kind of unofficial rule, that the better we think something –an event, trip or some day out’s– going to be, the less likely we are to bring the phone to take photos (and to avoid distraction). So for example, is it a reasonably okay event? Alright, bring it maybe. FUCKING AWESOME AS SHIT event? Without a doubt: fuck the phone. It stays home.
And your photos are also another thing that would suck to lose. Therefore, something not that you own, but something that owns you. So if you didn’t have any, you have nothing to lose.
Also, is memory like language? If you keep training it and improving it, does it turn to shit?
Today begins my one year of not taking even a single photo¹. And there’s no cheating either, like telling someone else to take a photo for me or some pussy thing like that. If someone else decides to whip the phone out to take one, okay, but until September 2018, I’m living (at least visually) entirely in the present.
¹ Except for practical reasons –photos of receipts, this blog etc. In other words, not to remember something.