A few days ago, the sunset was a serene pale yellow melting into a blue sky. Yesterday, the sun partied with a riot of colours – red, orange and pink. Sunsets are a lot better when I let them sink in, without worrying about getting the right picture. The problem of carrying around a camera in our phones is that our ability to enjoy a beautiful scene has almost vanished. Now it’s more about taking the prefect picture.
When we get into the technical aspects of composing a good picture with the right frame and the right filter, we are getting desensitised to beauty. Right after taking the picture, we rush to put it on social media platforms and start thinking about the caption we are going to add. Then we walk away, without really having experienced the scene.
If poet William Wordsworth had a camera phone, his poem, ‘Daffodils’ would have been a photograph - quickly shared and easily forgotten. I grew up in a time where there were no phone cameras. When we went on a trip, I remember being exhilarated and moved by beautiful places. I still carry the joy and images in my mind. There are printed photographs pasted in albums which have been thumbed through several times. It all changed after I got a smart phone and a fancy camera. The thousands of pictures which I take these days I don’t even get to look at a second time. I regret having watched fireworks displays and gushing waterfalls and sunrises through a lens, when I could have really enjoyed them gadget free. The mad rush to capture feels useless when I see hundreds of gigabytes of photos and videos saved in hard disks collecting dust.
What is important to remember is that while there are several advantages of having this instant technology, we need to make sure that experiences last longer than a click. We need to be present and let the moment sink into our minds, before we reach for the camera. Let’s not get immune to beauty. Let’s stay human.
- The writer is a resident of Abu Dhabi.