Being in the Moment

By Lane Wallace

In response to my earlier post on the virtues and value of silence, a reader wrote: 


"Your point about recording an event rather than experiencing the event reminds me of when I was in Hawaii and took one of those touristy half-day tours, and one of the stops was this man diving off a waterfall somewhere deep in a forest. There were probably about 30 of us, and we met the diver, and he told us what he was going to do. We watched him climb the waterfall, and then the announcer told everyone to get their cameras ready. I didn't bring a camera (that was back in the film days, not like now, when you can easily email a picture easily), but I realized that I was the only one watching the diver with my eyes ... everyone else was watching it through a viewfinder. 

I've often thought about how many vacation photos are thrown away. I've dumped a whole lot when I couldn't determine one beach from another. Really, who wants to see a trip to the Bahamas from 1974? What's funny, though, is that my memory is not of the instant of the diver taking the plunge, but of this herd of people all holding their cameras with held breath."

Food for thought, as we head into summer vacation/photo season. 




This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2009/05/being-in-the-moment/18230/