Between you and the world


I’m in Seattle at the time of this post. When it posts, at least. I’m not there now. While I will probably take pictures, or at least someone will, my friend has a pretty packed schedule for us, and I can’t see myself breaking away from it to do this:

“Run outside. Take a picture of the first thing you see. Run inside. Take a picture of the second thing you see. Write about the connection between these two random objects, people, or scenes.”

I don’t really take many pictures. I have an Instagram, but … what was my last Instagram post? Oh, it was a picture of “The Roughrider” that I took nearly two weeks ago.

1 1/2 oz. Wiser's Whiskey 1 oz. pureed black raspberries 1/2 oz. Chambord 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice Ginger Beer

1 1/2 oz. Wiser’s Whiskey
1 oz. pureed black raspberries
1/2 oz. Chambord
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
Ginger Beer

There it is. It was delicious, by the way. I’ll put the recipe in the caption (note: Chambord is fucking expensive. I’ve been putting a shot of it into my gin & tonics lately, and that is also spectacular. It probably exists as a drink of it’s own).

Anyway, I don’t take many pictures. I think my Facebook page has two pictures that I took on it, the rest are friends’ photos that I’ve been tagged in. It’s just not something that occurs to me to do. When I’m genuinely enjoying myself, I don’t think to myself, “I’m having so much fun! I should take a picture of how much fun I’m having and show it to people!” It’s like Twitter–I only really use it for work or when I’m super bored. Or when the train is being sketchy and I want to keep track of it. I never believe people when they say things like, “Having a blast!” with a selfie of them somewhere. Because if I were really having fun, a selfie would be the last thing in my mind.

But I wonder if that’s just me. Or if that’s something that’s gradually changing. My younger cousins seem to document their lives on social media, in occasionally painstaking detail. “Pictures or it didn’t happen.”

Maybe it’s that I don’t really care if anyone knows that something happened or not. I know what happened, I was there. If I were to get a picture with someone in a band, what would I do with it? I saw the band. I have that memory in my head. If I met a member of the band, I would also have that memory.

Also, pictures steal your soul.

Also also, putting a camera between you and an experience seems almost like a self-defense mechanism, a way of removing yourself from the role of participant and setting yourself one step back. Of becoming a voyeur of your own life. Because when you’re taking a picture, you’re probably thinking not so much of yourself but of the person or people that you want to show the picture to. About what this picture will tell other people about you. About the persona you present. And what does that say about the experience that you’re having? One of my cousins is a dancer, and I’ve been to so many recitals where there was a wall of parents ahead of me, holding up their cameras or their phones and recording every second of the performance. And I always wonder, what are they going to do with that video? Force polite but disinterested friends and family members to watch it? Probably it’ll just live on their computer, until they get a new one and forget to transfer it. Or they’ll put it on a DVD, which will go on a shelf, and eventually be unplayable because of the forward march of technology, which leaves obsolescence in it’s wake.

I’ve taken this to a weird, bitter, pretentious, and probably quasi-dystopian place. That was likely not the intention of the prompt.

I might just leave this as my response to that prompt, actually. And I might stop telling you guys what the prompts are. I might have said that before…

Do you take a lot of pictures?