This Was The Moment I Knew My Obsessive Picture-Taking Had Gone Too Far

I am so consumed with capturing the ‘perfect’ moment that I totally missed the point.

“Enough pictures mommy,” my five-year-old sighs as I ask her if she can just smile one more time and strike that pose again.

She gives me a disgusted look and pulls her hat over her eyes.

We are surrounded by other children who are smiling brightly for their mom’s cameras and posing away, but my daughter has protested and even though the lighting is perfect, she looks adorable and this is a ‘special’ moment, she will not budge and there is absolutely no way she is going to do that pose for me again.

I feel a little bit embarrassed, a little bit angry and a little bit ashamed.

Yes, I do take a lot of photos and I sincerely attribute it to my silly iPhone. Before I had this device I didn't take nearly as many photos, but now I am downloading about 200 ‘special’ moments bi-weekly, and rather than capturing candid shots or living in the moment, I am driving my family crazy by making them hold a pose or do something again because mommy needs time to get her phone out. 

I used to have a cute, little pink point-and-shoot camera that took great photos, but I’d have to go home and download them to my computer in order to post them. That would happen maybe once a month and by then the moment had passed. It was a lot of work, which meant fewer photos, but now with these camera phones, it's so easy to just snap, snap, snap away, because one of them is sure to be perfect, right? 

For my daughters first birthday, I decided I wanted to make her a photo book full of all of our wonderful memories of that first year.  Sounded easy enough, but I had about 10,000 photos to go through and I’m not even exaggerating. 

I was snap happy! She would be wearing a cute outfit and for some reason, I felt I needed to take 25 photos of her in it. Or on her birthday, rather than one photo with her and the cake I had to act like the paparazzi and snap fifty.

She’d be in the bath and I’d take 15 photos. She would cover her face with applesauce and I’d take 15 photos, and when she did milestone type stunts like rolling over, sitting up and crawling, watch out 'cause this mama took enough photos to increase the stock price of Kodak! 

After spending endless hours sorting through the photos and arranging them in this beautiful hard covered book (not to mention the small fortune I paid to have it made and shipped), the package finally arrived and no one cared.  

How often do I dig out my old albums from when I was a baby? Sure I have looked at them a few times, especially now since having children of my own, but really most of the albums at my parents' house are just collecting dust!

Sure we live in a digital age, where photos get posted online and we can look back at them that way, but do we really look back? And if we do look back, do we really need 200 photos a month to remember every detail? 

I am a photo junkie, but I look around and I know that I am not the only one. I am sure all of your daily news feeds are full of friends posting pics of their children sleeping, eating and even photos of the pot of soup they have simmering on the stove. 

Why are we a generation that feels like we have to document everything? Why can’t we just live in the moment and remember things based on memories, scents, and songs like our parents used to do? 

Now we are all snapping away, posing our children with props for each holiday, adding filters and in some cases even editing out snotty noses and drool.  

I think we are so consumed with capturing the ‘perfect’ moment that we are totally missing ‘THE’ moment. 

And I know I’m guilty. The first time my daughter rode a two-wheeler on her own I saw the whole thing through the screen of my camera phone. The first time she sang on stage in her Christmas pageant I witnessed the whole thing through the screen of my phone and the list goes on. 

I now get why she grunts at me and makes a sour face when I pull out my camera phone, for I am missing the moment by trying to capture the moment. 

We all have things as parents we want to work on, so that is going to be my new mission; to be more present and less posed. They grow up too fast and rather than look back on it through photos, I want to be present for the first authentic time that something happens and recall it by feeling and memory, not filters and fabrication. 

And I think I will start by pulling out that old, little point and shoot; my data plan will thank me.

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