Byron Bay is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Australia, if not the world, so we get a lot of tourists. Each evening when I do my sunset walk along the beach, I notice the tourists stop and take a photo of the spectacular vista.
The strange thing is that they stop to take the photo and then move on; they rarely stay and watch the remaining setting of the sun. I feel like running after them, grabbing them and screaming, Come back, you’re missing the best bit!
It’s like once it’s in the camera or phone, they’ve captured it and can then move on; but what have they captured? What they’ve secured on their smart device is a milli-second of an entire one hour show. And besides, it never ends up looking the same on film. I know, because I often take the same photos to send friends back in Melbourne and I’m always disappointed in what comes out.
The same applies to our obsession with sharing photos of our meals at cafes and restaurants on social media. By the time the photos are taken at the right angle and light, I feel like shouting, Eat, it’s getting cold! We might capture the look of the dish but what about its smell, taste and texture?
In the photo taking we lose the experience of what we’re actually taking a photo of. The experience is the essence. The photo is just a record – and a scratched one at that.
Try this the next time you see something beautiful that you want to share, whether it be a meal, sunset or cute dog – stop and watch it! Be totally present by engaging all of your senses – sight, sound, touch, smell, taste – and then write about it and post it to a friend or post it here. How did it make you feel? Don’t think about what you’re going to write while you’re doing this; just be’ and let the words come afterwards.
This very act of getting in touch with your senses gets you out of your head, which in turn brings you back to the present moment. In our mind-based thinking’ world, we are losing the present momentstry this simple exercise as a way of bringing them back!
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