Both Sides of the Lens - A Family Outing

September 26, 2023

The trouble with being the photographer - the memory capturer - is that you find yourself missing from the photos. 

I can capture my memory of how I saw something (from my point of view), which I like! ...but I can't capture that same memory with me in it (from a third person perspective).

Yesterday the girls had the day off of school so we drove ourselves to a tiny beach, each of us with a camping chair & a book to read.

I loved the little walk through nature to get to the beach & I snapped photos of the experience: of my girls walking together, of Ken with them, of the trees & the water.

Then we settled into our spots in the sun, to read, & I snapped a photo of the girls & of Ken, but I wanted to remember my part in the experience, so I asked Katrina to take a photo with me in it, including the water & the tree near us.

It was a beautiful little outing and I love the good memories: 

The beauty in the country drive: the fields, the leaves beginning to turn, and the purple wildflowers scattered along the way. 

Each of my family members’ heads bent to their books in the car, but Talia lifting hers to the scene around us after I commented on how beautiful it was.

The beauty of the walk through the trees to get to the beach. How Katrina said it seemed magical and that was how I felt, too.

The warmth of the sun as we read, surrounded by nature’s beauty.

And there are also some uncomfortable memories not captured in photos:

How I felt when I got a bit lost during the drive. 

How I sensed the other family members weren’t as into the walk as I was & I worried about them feeling dragged along.

How I knew that Ken got dizzier during the drive & had to switch to his audiobook at the beach because it was too hard to read the pages of his book.

How I sensed that they were finished with the time at the beach sooner than I was, but willing to stay for me... 

then trying to balance between enjoying the moment for myself & being careful to be aware of their experiences of the moment as well.

The benefit of writing is that you can write about your reflections, both inward and outward, and capture things that a camera never could. 

I find opportunity in reading over what I've written, too. In particular, in the questions that come to my mind as I read: 

Why did I choose to put my thoughts or feelings into those words? 

What did I mean by that? 

Did I express that clearly? 

Could I explain that better? 

What feelings, thoughts, and experiences led me to see that experience the way I did?

Those questions can lead to deep-dives and exploration that help me to better understand myself and the way I relate with the world.  In this blog entry, for example, I can look deeper at my list of "uncomfortable memories" from the day and write a whole other entry about why those things were uncomfortable for me. Those reasons can sometimes have less to do with the moments I listed and more to do with my past experiences than it would seem on the surface.

I think that's why I really love both tools of memory-capturing (photography & writing). They each allow me to capture things on a different level than the other can, leading to a more complete picture. I think that's also why I love blogging as a mode of expression.

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