in defense of snapshots

I'm in the process of winnowing down the photos I'm going to use for my 2013 year-in-pics video. I've done them for 2010, 2011, and 2012, and even though they're nothing remotely fancy, they're one of my favorite creative efforts ever. Very much worth the trouble (which is more than it should be, as my outdated, overburdened laptop is basically a paperweight at this point) - a cathartic way to be nostalgic, to reflect, and in some ways, to say goodbye.

Most of the pics that go into these videos are crappy cell phone photos. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Because the quality of the pictures doesn't really matter to me, so long as the people in them are recognizable. They're just memory triggers, anyway. All I want from them is to be instantly transported to that moment, that instant in which I was laughing or loving or just enjoying myself enough to want to record the feeling. And I get there just fine, no matter what the pixel count or clarity. And best of all, I know that in that moment I wasn't weighed down with a cumbersome dSLR, futzing about with F-stops and other settings. I was actually present, checking out only long enough to snap a quick pic on my cell phone.

Deciding to stop posting photos - and recapping social events - on Elliequent was one of the best blogging decisions I've ever made. I don't have to worry about impressing anyone with my photos. I don't have to drag a dSLR to parties and get side eye when I invest way too much time trying to get that perfect blog-worthy shot. I can just enjoy myself and my friends.

My dSLR isn't going anywhere. I like using it at public events around town, just for fun and creative release. Photography is still an erstwhile hobby for me, and always will be. And occasionally friends ask me to bring my "good" camera to parties, to document the day for them with professional(ish)-looking photos. But that's about it. I don't even like taking it on vacation any more, since the trip quickly starts to revolve around finding photo opportunities rather than the collection of actual memories. I get caught up in thinking about how I'm going to capture the moment, rather than just live it.

I don't think anyone ever looks through their family albums and thinks Man, I wish my mom had a better camera or My parents should have thrown away this blurry shot of us. I think we're all just grateful the photos exist.