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Why I Put Down My Camera | Entreprelife

Why I Put Down My Camera

My first camera

If you knew me growing up, I have a picture of you. Probably dozens, if not hundreds of pictures of you.

I can’t remember how old I was when my parents first bought me a camera, but I couldn’t have been older than 6 or 7. It was an old film camera without a flash. Back then, every time you used a flash it burned out the bulb. My birthdays and Christ­mases were full of film and extra flashes – or the money to buy them. All of this was made more expensive by the diffi­culty of getting the film developed into pictures.

And yet, I still remember the joy of picking up my pictures from the developer. I would look through them and rejoice in the memories of the last few months of my life.

As I (and tech­nology) grew, I discov­ered the joy of dispos­able cameras. For cheap, I could carry around a camera in my pocket and not worry if it got banged up a bit. I must have gone through a hundred or more dispos­able cameras while in High School.

In 2004, I purchased my first digital camera with the proceeds of my first job. It was the most expensive thing I had ever purchased. I used that thing until it could be used no more, used it’s photos to get my first photog­raphy gig, and later upgraded to a Digital SLR camera – my first profes­sional camera.

This one was the one that took me to the next level. I learned how to crop photos, edit in Photoshop, and manip­u­late lighting. I started getting requests to take photos at events and even­tu­ally got paid for my time and my pictures.

But one day, I put my camera down and rarely picked it back up.

It’s not because I stopped liking pictures. Photog­raphy is still a joy of mine and every once in a while I take out the old camera and snap a few photos. However, I learned that life without the camera is much better than life with it.

There But Not

After years behind the camera I realized something: I wasn’t enjoying these events, I was chron­i­cling them.

The differ­ence between chron­i­cling and expe­ri­encing are massive. When I go to a friend’s wedding with my camera, I come back with beautiful photos but very few memories. My memories are or me, behind the camera, finding good shots and talking briefly about my camera and rela­tion­ship with my friend. But when I set down my camera and expe­ri­ence the event, the most wonderful memories are created! I have good conver­sa­tions with friends, I see all the funny and extra­or­di­nary events that happen, I am forced to open myself to people I can ignore behind my camera.

Ulti­mately, I realized I had to choose between my love of photog­raphy and my ability to expe­ri­ence life. After a lot of thought, I chose to expe­ri­ence life.

Now I spend time with my wife and friends instead of taking pictures of them, I enjoy weddings and other events without the hindrance of a camera, and while I don’t have many photos of the last few years I do have memories – wonderful, beautiful memories.

Expe­ri­ence Your Life

Next time your friend is about to do a trick, the fireworks are about to go off, or you’ve found a beautiful spot you’d like to remember put down your phone, your slr camera, and all your recording devices and enjoy the moment.

Watch the trick.

Enjoy the fireworks.

Expe­ri­ence the place.

These memories are better, and more powerful than any photo you will ever take.

And every once in awhile, after fully expe­ri­ence the moment, take a picture or two. Be satisfied with the few. You won’t regret it.

One Response to “Why I Put Down My Camera”

  1. ixnayonthetimmay August 7, 2012 at 4:15 AM #

    This is a beautiful post, Alex! But let us hope you can find a way to pick up that camera a little more in the future, as what I have seen of you photo­graphic work is also great.

    I feel the camera tale might also be a metaphor for this website. I under­stand the changes in your career and life mean you can’t chronicle the events in your financial growth as you have on this site before. But, if life allows, I hope you can once again pick it up and share it with the world.

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