Thursday, July 27, 2017

A second that lasted for eternity

There's so many things to take picture of and to take videos of, especially when you have a kid. There are kind advice to take more videos and pictures so that you can remember those special 'first' that happened for your child. I remembered that when I was younger, I don't really have much photos to show for. But at the very least, I have some photos to show for. My parents had a lot lesser, and my grandparents even less so. Perhaps each major milestone, they will have a family portrait or so. Those formal, all suited events to commemorate someone's wedding or graduation. Significant events. These days, we take pictures of every little inane thing that happened in our lives. More is not more. As we have more pictures, each picture takes a smaller share of the significance of the collective pictures taken. It's like the last squeeze of the water colour pastel; it's not enough, so you add more water to dilute it so that you can paint the sky blue. But you ended up with a shade of blue so diluted that it's like a copy of a copy of a copy of the real azure sky.


Does having more pictures mean that the next generation will have much more things to remember their childhood? Not necessarily so. A picture or a video can sometimes distract us from enjoying the moment as it happens. Imagine you are looking up the night sky to watch the national day fireworks. In order to enjoy that ephemeral moment for an eternity, you look away at your pocket, whip out your phone, turn to the camera app and look at the fireworks through the filtered lens of your hand phone screen. That picture you took of the fireworks is not the fireworks you actually experience without the distraction of taking a photo. First of all, it's a series of static pictures and is no where near what you can observe directly. Secondly, even if it's a video, there's the missing boom of the fireworks and the accompanying echoes that reverberate through your whole being, or the strange mix of your sweat and the smell of the smoke as the fireworks explodes up, lighting the night sky. Or the feeling of holding the hands of your loved one as you share this special moment together. It's just different from watching a grainy video taken from your phone.




Before my son was born, I was musing over whether to get a good camera to take pictures and videos of our shared experience. I decided not to, because I know I'm not such a person. In retrospect, and on hindsight, I think I made the right choice. I'm know that I'm not such a person, and I also know that I don't want to be such a person. The former is who I am, but the latter will define my future self and chart my destiny. Choice is important. Even if the everyone is doing it, doesn't mean that I should do it too. Why? Choice.


I'll still take my videos and pictures of my son, who is getting more vocal by the day. I'll still take pictures of his silly grins and videos of his funny times. But those are insignificant moments. For the really significant moments, like watching the fireworks with him under the night sky while holding his tiny hands, and watching his bright brown eyes brighten just as the fireworks exploded into a dizzying display of lights and sounds, I know I won't be whipping out my hand phone. I'll be busy enjoying the moment, soaking in the sight and the sound, and committing it to memory.


When I'm old and my vision fades together with my hearing, I know I'll still be there, holding his tiny hands, watching and hearing the fireworks together, like it's my first time.

2 comments :

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

LP,

As I've enjoyed photography more, I've downgraded from SLR to compact camera, to Xiaomi phone ;)

From use of telephoto distance shots to wide-angle close-ups more.


There are days where I just soak up the sights and sounds without the distraction of photography.

Then there are days where like a fisherman, I bring my full photography gears with the full intent of capturing light and shadow.


The fond memories of people who matter do not come from old photographs; they come from shared experiences.

Although we have only spent only 3 months together, I can remember the funny and bitter-sweet moment with my mates from Basic Military Training more than colleagues whom I've spent 14 years with...

The names of my BMT mates I've all forgotten; yet I can still see their faces now.



la papillion said...

Hi SMOL,

"The fond memories of people who matter do not come from old photographs; they come from shared experiences."

Well said, my friend. A photograph merely helps to remind yourself of the shared moment; it is not THE shared moment. It's like a bookmark, stuck in between the pages of memories. The real thing is the memory, not the bookmark. You can have a beautiful bookmark, but if it points to an empty page in a book, its purpose would have been defeated utterly.

That said, there is craft in creating a beautiful bookmark. The issue comes when the beauty of the bookmark is misunderstood as the same as the beauty of the memories.