While puttering around the house on this rainy morning, the notion of posting some of the photos from my most recent road trip flittered in and out of my thoughts. That idea was swirled between the need to do laundry, buy dog food and have another cup of coffee.
Needing to buy dog food. Now, there is an unquestionable purpose and benefit. The dog has to eat and you have to feed it. The result is a happy dog and a happy person. The same can’t be said about sharing the dumb stuff I take pictures of while I’m out riding my motorcycle. There isn’t a direct need nor benefit.
What’s this thing, this compulsion to document and share? What purpose does taking a picture of a giant lobster and then showing you serve? None, really. And yet, it’s like an automatic behavior. At least the picture snapping part, as evidenced by the thousands of oddball photos on my iPhone.
This morning, I read an article in The Economist’s 1843 magazine: Japan’s pioneering street photographer about Daidō Moriyama. This quote, in particular, stayed with me:
He still prowls cities at the age of 79, although he now prefers to use a compact digital camera, snapping unobtrusively from waist-level. “We perceive countless images all day long and do not always focus on them,” he says.
It got me thinking about all of the things I like to take photos of – the whimsical, the artful, the goofball, the nostalgic and fading moments of our continuously hardening society. When people say to me, “you find the craziest things,” with regard to the 5-foot lobsters of life, it seems strange to me. Those things are right there all the time! Why don’t some people see them?
I suppose that while some of us are focused on buying dog food, our antennas just don’t pick up on those other signals. “We perceive countless images all day long and do not always focus on them.”
Maybe my riding and photo-snapping is a gentle reminder to myself to try to remember to see. See the things that make me smile, make me laugh, that keep youthful feelings in my heart.