A few days back, my friend Torre mentioned something that I’ve thought about only a few times. Going along with a recent blog post from the “Transitive Properties” series from earlier this week, I wanted to talk more about moments.
Torre brought up in our group chat that a photo only exists because someone wanted to capture a moment, essentially. The actual quote is so far back in group chat now that I have no idea what it actually was, but that’s what I remember, that’s what I wanted to talk about.
Earlier this week I brought up an episode of How I Met Your Mother that involved a quote from Ted: “The beauty of a moment is that it’s fleeting, by its very nature it slips through our fingers…” etc. This was paraphrased, as well, because I can’t be assed to go back and watch the episode. (I can. I’m just lazy.)
I’ve always loved this sentiment, despite how high school it sounds. It’s a reason I’ve always appreciated photography for what it is. It is the capturing of a moment in time that will never happen again. Each picture is filled with memories of a time that one day will be lost to history. Pictures are important for that reason.
A wedding photo commemorates one of the biggest steps that people take in their lives. A before and after photo of weight loss shows people how much someone has changed, how much weight they have lost. A before and after picture of a chili dog, taken a handful of seconds apart shows the story of someone who enjoyed their dinner, perhaps a bit too quickly.
I’ve liked photography for a while because it reminds me of something that I so easily forget sometimes, that this life, for all of the big adventures and small memories it holds… is fleeting in and of itself. The moment of time that you are reading this blog post will soon follow with another moment of you doing something else. That being said, I want all of you to imagine briefly (in the least creepy way possible) that a photographer is following you around and cataloging all of the things you spend most of your time doing. Perhaps, if you are like me, that will be split fairly evenly between waiting tables and writing books. Maybe you spend a lot of time playing video games, or playing football, maybe you do so many things that you will overwork the photographer and he will feel the need to take a break.
If you’re doing good things, don’t do this. Make him work for your story.
In the first year of Gravity, My Enemy I wrote a blog called “Empty Swimming Pools” and it was about (in the end) doing 28 good deeds a day in order to drain your “swimming pool” of the good energy that your life is made up of.
As the years have gone on, I’ve been thinking of that blog post a lot lately. This, I suppose, is a follow up to it.
My hope for all of you, each beautiful person putting their eyes to this page right now is that you can find a full 28 seconds in your day to smile for the camera.
This life is as long as it is short… we can’t waste any time, so make sure that you love who you are and who you are with. Make sure that you are always present of mind, that photographer beside you is watching and waiting for you to do good things so that he can commemorate it.
You have all of the power in the world + I want you to know that. This life isn’t meant to be awful. I hope you’re smiling, right now.
If not… you only have 28 seconds to get there, because this moment will be gone before you know it. Embrace it. Find the good in it. Even if it’s something small, I promise you, it’s there.
I’m here with you, too. Let’s smile together.