For years, I didn’t even own a camera. OK, yes I did. I owned a Kodak Disc camera. Which is to say, no camera to speak of. I hadn’t actually taken any pictures since… oh let’s just say… high schoolish. Maybe early college. Which is probably the last time film for Disc cameras was readily available.
In today’s world in which cameras have become ubiquitous (inasmuch as cellphones have become ubiquitous, and for some reason phones now do just about everything and yet we still refer to them as phones… but I digress) it might seem strange to think there was a time when we didn’t all have cameras in our pockets at all times. As smartphones start capturing better and better pictures, it’s possible that cameras themselves will become as obsolete as phones that, well, just make calls. (My phone has a camera. It sucks. And it’s a pain to get the pictures off my phone to anywhere I might want to use it. Therefore I pretty much forget altogether that it has a camera feature.)
Because of all those years in which I did not own a camera – or even a phone with a camera – I of course did not take pictures. If I went somewhere and needed a visual memory of it, I would buy the postcard. After all, some professional person went to all the trouble to take the perfect shot of whatever-I’m-looking-at. And isn’t that what I want to remember? As opposed to my never-going-to-do-it-justice attempt?
Because I didn’t have a camera, I would have to remember my impressions of a place some other way… the way that has been most natural to me: I would write them. I would find myself composing the story of my travels even while on my travels. A free-flow of words arranged themselves neatly into order along my way.
Now I own a camera. I love my camera. I love coming back with beautiful shots of wherever I have been.
But a strange thing has happened as I have starting taking pictures of my adventures. Those thousand-words-the-picture-is-supposed-to-be-worth disappeared.
So now I feel like I have to decide who I want to be… the person who documents her travels with words, or with pixels.
You know, it never occurred to me that this was going to be a factor in deciding who I want to be when I grow up.