Why I Enjoy Taking Photos
Not long ago, I would be annoyed at my daughter for stopping us from diving into a lovely meal at a restaurant so that she could take a photograph of the pristine plate.
She was on social media. I was not.
Of course, I wasn’t pleased with this public display of our life, even if the pictures didn’t include our faces.
Now she is far away in another country. I am not sure if she still stops to take pictures of everyday life.
The ubiquity of the smartphone and the ease of taking pictures with the inbuilt camera has been available for quite some time now.
Yet, I have only recently begun to consciously capture ordinary moments through the lens.
Mostly I take photographs of pretty objects – like a beautifully presented meal like the one here – taken at a restaurant at Arab Street during the month of Ramadan.
But I do take pictures of nature, most often when I take my frequent walks in Bukit Batok nature reserve near my home.
It has been raining almost everyday in Singapore. Many misty mornings I woke up to a view of clouds grazing the trees when I wake opened the curtains.
I also love to have flowers in the house and buy assorted bouquets of lilies, orchids or sunflowers for my living room. When the lilies in my vase quietly bloom and gently release their mild but heady fragrance, I stop to take a picture.
At other times, I stop to capture something unusual – a rooster, a fallen leaf of an unusual color, moss on a rock, a funny poster.
Occasionally I take pictures of interesting graffitti or even a simple patterned wall.
Very rarely do I take selfies.
Many of these photos I share on social media. But most are stored safely in the cloud. They pop up unexpectedly as a curated video or a reminder of an anniversary from long ago.
Instantly I am transported not just to the place but also that time of my life. I notice that the grey in my hair had not yet grown wild, that my smile looked different back then.
These pictures serve as a record of my life.
Photos come in handy when I am trying to recollect a long-lost memory, when I am desperately seeking inspiration to write about something totally random or when I’m tracking my progress on the year (or quarter)
But the most important thing the phone camera has done for me is to serve as a tool and a reminder to pause.
Whether I’m rushing to work or grabbing my dinner or merely flitting from one task to another, it makes me stop and take in the scene in front of me. And if inclined, I take a picture.
Being mindful is not easy. We need help to make it a practise. Taking photos has been as simple way for me to do so.
This simple exercise also helps us make space for awe in our lives.
Try to take photographs for a whole week. Of nature, of everyday objects, of moments of small and large significance. It is a simple exercise way to feel better, feel grateful feel happy.
How do you trick yourself into being mindful?