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"Stealing" a moment in time

As a person who takes photos (I am certainly not comfortable calling myself a “photographer” at this stage of the game–someday perhaps)…do you ever feel like you are stealing something? Do you ever feel like “taking” a shot is much like it sounds?

During the few short days I’ve been doing this project I have felt that way many times. I love the line from one of the photos in Kate Crafton’s 365 project where she says “suffer for my art” as she is spinning from her desk chair snapping a photo while hoping not to get sick. I feel like this project is consuming my thoughts and maybe-just maybe some of my family is suffering for it. While I am supposed to be doing other things I am thinking about what a good photo of the day would be. Often times I am so distracted that the kids are watching way too much tv or playing by themselves more that I’d like them to be. So, in essence, they are suffering for my art. And by not being ‘in the moment”, I am suffering for my art too, right?

But on the other hand…I feel like its a great use of my time in that I am bookmarking a place in our lives. Like I am documenting history; the way we felt today, what we ate, the kids’ new haircuts or whatever. How can that be a waste of time right? I get a lot of enjoyment from looking at old photos from regular days like today. I looking at how much the kids have changed, whether or not I have on my extra 10 pounds, what the spring felt like (when it’s winter as I look at the photo). Photography, as with writing, allows me to do what I love: to taste life again. It’s kinda like keeping a piece of your history with you, accessible via the click of the mouse to the folder where it is catalogued and (hopefully) forever preserved.

Sometimes-like the other day when I brought my backup camera with me on a lunch date with the boys, I feel the thief in me come out. The boys are trying to eat their pesto cavitapppi with chicken and enjoy their cups of sods (a rare treat) and don’t want the camera around. They are not shy about letting me know that the presence of the camera is bothering them. The people in the booths right in front of and behind us don’t want to see a middle aged women with a camera AND two kids out to lunch on a busy week day either. I hide the camera and try to snap a quick photo (steal) to capture the ‘history’ of the afternoon. The flash is too bright and gives me away-so I get the dirty stare from the table of highschoolers at 2 o’clock. A few minutes after my first snapshot the gal in the booth directly in front peeks over to see if I am talking to myself or if there is someone there in the booth. She sees my son laying down in the bench covering his head and asking me to stop taking pictures. “Oh-I didn’t see him down there and I thought you were taking a picture of the plate of food.” She sighs as if comforted that I had something other that the plate of food to photograph. In fact, I was taking a snapshot of the noodles and pretending I was focusing on my son. Am I a pathetic or what? I wanted to capture a pic of our yummy food so that I can remember it as our ‘special date’ place as Aaron (my almost-four-year-old call is). I wanted to remember that I ordered two plates of food-one large one for Aaron and I and one small one for Casey and that in no time both plates were gone with little help from me. I wanted to steal that moment to keep in my forever pile.

I guess in the end, I don’t feel so much like a ‘thief” as I do a historian capturing a simple day in our lives to remember how sweet it was.

What are your thoughts?

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Lori - February 16, 2008 - 9:42 pm

It’s one kind of thief who takes away from others.

You’re the other kind of thief — you “steal” today what you will share tomorrow.

Great post!

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