I take a lot of photographs. I do. I always have. It started I way back when my Mom bought me a Disc Camera for my birthday. Do you remember those? I loved that camera.
It comes honestly though. One of the stories that is always told in my family ~ one that I clearly remember ~ is when we travelled across Canada and my Mom took like 6 photographs of the same Mountain in the Rockies. That doesn’t seem excessive today ~ but in the age of film I remember us all thinking it was.
So taking photographs is just a part of me. I take them of our travels and of our family and friends. I have cultivated beautiful galleries of them on my walls at home. Choosing my favourites ~ sometimes for memory and sometimes for composition. Often for both. They serve as a touchstone of who we are, where we have been, and how we define ourselves as a family and as individuals.
In our home we are surrounded by memories of the life we have created.
It is a conscious decision and one that fills me with joy.
But as I sit here looking at these walls, I realize hardly any of them ~ actually almost none of them ~ of my most prized and favourite ~ have ever been posted on social media.
I also sit here and realize that even with my passion for photography, so many ~ so very very many ~ of the most special moments of my life never even have a photograph to show for them.
For instance there was Monday night. My Mom and Dad came over for supper and stayed and talked and talked on the veranda on a perfect clear summer evening. Not a photo was taken.
As a matter of fact if you looked at my social media feed you would think these moments never happen ~ time with my parents. But they happen all of the time. They are one of the most significant parts of my life. We see each other all the time. We take adventures together and are a huge part of each other’s lives.
But they don’t like social media at all ~ like really really at all ~ so even the innumerable photographs I do have of them rarely get posted. I try to be ridiculously respectful of this with people. This is changing a little as they dip their toe into Facebook ~ but still I let them take the lead. Maybe you will see more of them if their comfort level changes. Maybe you never will. But it doesn’t mean they don’t exist or aren’t two of the most important people in my life.
The same is with Craig’s parents. To a tee. While they don’t disdain social media they simply choose not to be on any social media at all. So I post a rare moment here or there with them, but my social media feed isn’t close to indicative of who they are on our lives, how many moments we spend with them or how incredibly special they are to us.
Some of my favourite moments are getting together to celebrate birthdays and holidays with them all. Everyone comes and our evenings are so special around the table eating together, sharing stories, having drinks and opening presents. This happens atleast ten times a year. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at my feed.
But I post none of those photos. None.
This past Tuesday ~ a beautiful and leisurely evening with three of my favourite friends. The longest evening and the best of talks. Not one post.
The same goes with times when it’s just the four of us as a family. Some of our most important times together are at Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving.
I never post one family photograph of us on the actual holidays. Maybe before or after every once in awhile ~ but never ever on the actual day we are sharing together.
We have been going to PEI as a family for 20 years now. It has always been our sanctuary for one week of the summer. Always just the four of us.
Hundreds of photographs and hundreds more memories. Literally. Not one posted.
So what’s the difference between what I post and what I do? What’s the reasoning for not posting so many of my most favourite and most memorable moments?
Two things I think.
The first is one is balance. Balance because there are a lot of things I do enjoy sharing. I do enjoy memories popping up on Facebook of fun times I had, trips I took, things I did, places I’ve been and things I saw. Good times with friends as we share our times together and comment on this or that and it makes me smile and laugh as we do. I adore that and it’s such fun. There is so much I do enjoy posting. The back and forth with friends and acquaintances has made me laugh out loud and truly does enhance some really great times.
And photographs I take of scenery or places
I’ve been that I think are compositionally a good photograph. I’m sharing those more and more. I enjoy that.
That is one side of the scale.
But the other side ~ the side that is more private, the moments that truly mean something, the ones that are close to my heart, well somehow ~ even if I have a photograph of them ~ it would actually make it LESS special for me to share them.
I know we don’t really live in a world like that anymore. But for me it’s true.
If you look at my social media feed you will see lots of photos representing true and real and wonderful experiences of my life. Each one a beautiful memory and often representing such a fun and fulsome life.
But it’s the moments you don’t see that truly make up who I am. It’s the people you don’t see who are often the most important in my life. Because these times, these memories, these moments are our own to be treasured. Sharing those doesn’t make them better.
I’ll leave you with this:
My favourite photograph in the entire world ~ the photograph that I captured by chance, that has perfect composition and that represents somehow my whole world in one single moment, will never ever be seen by the public. It sits on my mantle at home. I see it every day. It fills me up. It is for me. No one else.
And that is enough.
That is everything.