Imagine that you’re at a beautiful beach on a tropical island. It’s the crack of dawn, and a spectacular sunrise is unveiled before your eyes - a dance of colours and sun rays amidst a sky of slowly drifting clouds. Would you grab your camera and capture the spectacle? Or should this privilege be reserved for your eyes only?
We are blessed to be living in a time when it is so easy to document memories. Most of us now carry a camera, in some shape or form, wherever we go. But finding the ‘right’ way to embrace travel experiences is a challenge that I often find myself grappling with. To click, or not to click - that is the question!
Whether at a music concert or a popular tourist spot, I often find myself surrounded by a sea of mobile phones and cameras clicking and recording with seemingly reckless abandon. Which is, while sometimes strange, entirely understandable - since these are the little bits and pieces of life’s journey that can bring immense joy, especially when retrieved from a long-forgotten folder many years later. The real challenge is that it’s just as easy to be so glued to a screen, focused on recording everything, that you might entirely miss out on the real experience itself.
I’m not judging anyone here. In fact, as a digital content creator, I tend to fall closer to the benchmark to be avoided. It’s my ‘job’ to be distracted by my technology wherever I go. It is not unusual to find me juggling multiple cameras whilst preoccupied by an inspired ‘content idea’. That’s probably why I even stopped to think about this conundrum in the first place.
While many people I’ve met have had strong opinions on the subject, I don’t think it’s actually entirely black and white. There isn’t a right or a wrong way to go about any of this. It’s extremely subjective and based on personal priorities. However, for me, it’s crucial to find a balance that helps address the conflict between the real and the reel.
To achieve this, I do what feels right at that time and place - with an awareness that regretting my choices at a later point is quite futile. Over time, I’ve found a pattern that works for me, but it is still impossible to always get it right. So, whenever I can’t make up my mind, I use stop-gap measures that allow me the best of both worlds. Sometimes, it’s as simple as leaving my camera on time-lapse on a tripod while I sit somewhere nearby. That way I’m able to enjoy the experience uninterrupted and still have something to relive the memories by, in the future.
There’s no denying that the purest experience, in any context, is that which is free from distraction or dilution But, it would be foolish to assume that anything that doesn’t meet that standard is necessarily inferior. As long as you find your balance, your way is the right way!