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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Now or forever?

This is addressed to anyone who has (digital) camera or camcorder or loves to use them often.

Consider this. You are going to witness first birthday of your first born. Joy in the air is contagious and your happiness knows no bound. Baby is at his cutest ever and wonder and innocence on his faces melts your heart. You don’t want to miss a moment of this occasion, now or forever. So, of course, you bring out your camcorder and start shooting. Now the problem, that anyone who has ever looked through 3 inches of LCD screen can tell, is that what you see on camera is just not what you see with your eyes. Ours eyes are surprisingly well suited to look over wide range of depth, width and colour which help us in enjoying a panoramic scene through direct and subconscious/sideways vision. There is more to seeing then visuals too for which I have a feeling but no scientific evidence. Experience of a moment is not just visual, but also made of energy of people around, noise in environment, subtle change in air which affects our whole feeling of moment. You would miss all that when you are shooting not only because equipment will not capture that but also because your attempts at perfect angle and shot will keep you too distracted to be able to absorb your surrounding and prevent your from active participation.

What you gain is memory stored for forever. What you lose is the making of memory, the perfect feeling of the moment. This post is ideated from picture from the left. I’ve had this feeling many a times, specially when I am recording stage performance or fireworks in the sky. Obvious solution is to have someone else do the shooting for you. This is not always possible at small family events and lacks control over what gets shot. Will paid hire or your friend find the drooling saliva of your baby as enchanting as you will? I see that more often than not people chose to record, and hence miss substantially, what they’ve come to see in the first place, an ironic situation indeed. But then memory is so short lived unless revisited. What is the solution? I too tend to shoot though I try to minimize my time behind the eye hole but there is always feeling of being left out. What is your take?