I’ve been fascinated by photography since I was a small girl. My grandma and grandpa Malone always had the newest technology which meant they had a super 8 camera when I was a child, were able to snap Polaroid pictures and wave them in the air, and they had every kind of “instant” camera you could imagine. Thin wide cameras with tall flash bars on the top. Thick cameras with color film and a twisting flashbulb, and eventually they had cameras with the flash built in. Even now, one of my favorite things is to look through the boxes and albums full of pictures. It’s like diving into a time machine.
These days, I have a camera in my pocket almost all of the time. We don’t have to wait to get our pictures developed, be careful not to get our fingerprints on them, or heaven forbid, let water get on them. We don’t even have to waive them in the air to wait for them to dry. We just pretty much take for granted that we can capture any moment we choose.
My camera misses some of the pizzazz of earlier versions. These days, there is little pomp and circumstance around taking a picture. In fact, I noticed that it was so simple and mundane the makers of smartphones have added sounds to at least give it a moment. Quack… baby in the bathtub. Click… sunset picture. Boing… summertime selfie.
No matter how much the technology has changed, taking pictures remains primarily about focus. We capture a picture of a perfect meal, an amazing day, or a special moment. We gather the family and snap while everyone is here. We catch our celebrations, events, and adventures. This is a great use of technology and if I’m honest these are the things that fill my laptop hard drive.
But, I’ve been thinking about how to catch the smaller moments. Not the big events, but the small sweet moments that make up a day. The wiggle in my dog’s walk as I enter the house at the end of the day. The way Teddy lights up when he sees his Papa. The way that sweet boy leans into me in the early morning. The light off the trees outside my window. I’m not sure I need to take a picture of these minute miracles, but I do need to focus on the beauty of them.
It is easy in this current age to be swept up in negativity and fear. The world seems to be shaking on its foundation. Storms and fires, and political nonsense all add a sense of drama to our days. Small and large events closer to home, a diagnosis, an illness, an accident reminds us of the tenuous nature of life. It is easy to be swept up in the negativity and fear.
Noticing and capturing the more mundane pleasures in life is one way I am pressing back. Yes, life is hard, but it is also good. The bad and fearful stuff doesn’t take away the good, it can’t. Neither does the good, negate the bad. I need to become more intentional about where I put my focus.
So, today I’m focusing on the exquisite spectacle of my ordinary day. The smell of mint tea, freshly brewed. The way the light comes through the window and lights up the floor. The crisp November sky behind the lingering golden leaves outside my door. I think I will go take a picture.