I played music for a wedding recently with Dan Rodriguez, Aaron Johnson and André Rodriguez in St Paul, Minnesota. During a part of the evening when André was playing background music for a cocktail hour, I snapped a couple quick shots of him and took in the moment. Non of the rum-punch-sipping guests gave a single crap the craft, skill, and art that was going into these jazz standards. Just background music subconsciously making their evening more valuable.
One of the multiple reasons I've been enjoying taking pictures with film lately is because it KEEPS you in the moment. Most people think that the act of taking a photo hinders your ability to be present and fully experience the moment. In actuality, it's not the act of TAKING a picture, it's the act of REVIEWING the picture you just took that disconnects you. When you start looking at the picture(s) you just took, you're no longer here, you're in a universe that existed ten seconds ago. Those people and that moment are long gone, pull yourself back into the freaking present. The universe isn't going to wait for you.
Shooting film forces me to not have the option of the instant review.
That said, I don't think you have to be nerding out with another hobby to get the same benefits.
I came up with an experiment in discipline when I was traveling with my wife Sarah this last fall and found it's result of keeping me in the moment while still taking a few pictures so massive, I've started using it in my everyday life when I pull out my iPhone camera during the week. Here's what I do:
Say you're out to dinner with friends or (**insert any situation you find yourself in where you want to take a pic but stay in the moment **HERE**)
- Pull out your cell phone camera and take a picture of the moment. Then...
- Put it away INSTANTLY.
- Don't tap the photo album on the bottom left of your screen to go back and look at it. Turn it off and know that the enjoyment of reviewing it later will 10x your thankfulness for the picture AND the moment.
2 Pro Tips: 1: Most likely someone will say, "Can I take a look [at the photo you just took]?" Just say you'll text them the pictures later that night or the next morning. Not only will they be cool with it, sharing photos with someone that you took of them is a modern and underrated 2018 curtesy. 2: What if I want to make sure I got a good picture? Start using 'Photo Burst' to make sure you got the shot. Don't know what that is? Google it.
I guarentee two things are going to happen with this post.
1. Some people are going to think it's too simple to actually make a difference so they'll write it off and not try it.
2. The people that do commit to trying it out this week will find the benefits of this modern mindfulness discipline so rewarding in relation to how easy it is, like me, you'll try to assimilate it into your everyday life.
If you give it a try, leave me a message in the comments and tell me about your experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!