A Snapshot. Without A Camera.

I’m new to WordPress, but I’m loving it. I love the customization and organization capabilities for my blog. I love the “bells and whistles.” And now I just discovered another reason to be a WordPress fan: the Weekly Writing Challenge.

As you will see from the link that I have included at the end of this post, this week’s topic involves “using words, rather than a camera, to capture a moment.” I feel so strongly about this topic that I almost feel as if the author of the Challenge has been reading my mind.

As an obsessive photog (and really, who isn’t these days), I always have some form of a camera on me. I’m always ready to capture a moment for posterity (often to the dismay of my loved ones).

With one great exception: when I’m running. (Can’t have anything weigh me down!) And wouldn’t you know – some of the most beautiful scenes of my life have occurred during those miles. Countless times, I have turned to my husband, my lifelong running partner, and groaned dramatically, “I can’t believe I don’t have my camera!” Each time, as if scripted, he has turned to me with a knowing smile and said, “Just remember it. Some moments can’t be captured by a photo anyway.”

And you know what? He’s right.

The true essence of a moment often eludes capture, even if you can snap a photo. How many times has your breath been taken away by the splendor set before you, but when you push that button and see the resulting image, you’re dissatisfied? For even if you snap a beautiful photo of a spectacular sunset, you can’t possibly capture all of the things that spoke to your soul and seared the moment into your memory forever- the sounds of the seagulls, the scent of the saltwater, the feel of the wind on your cheek, the warm caress of your love’s hand in your own.

Interestingly enough, for each of those moments that I knew I couldn’t trap on film, I tried harder. I lingered longer. I breathed deeper. I carved the images in my mind. I wrote about the scenes in my journal. And I remember them so clearly.

While many of these moments are tied to the beauty of nature, one occurred this week as I stepped out of an office building in the Loop around 5:30 pm. I was instantly immersed in the vibrancy of the city. The air was cold, the people were hustling and bustling, the Christmas lights were twinkling, and the street performers were playing. I felt, as I often do when walking through the Loop at “rush hour,” so ALIVE. It’s moments like these that wash away my urban cynicism, remind me of my enduring magnetic attraction to the energy of urbanity, and make me fall in love with Chicago all over again.

I knew a picture wouldn’t encapsulate this heady feeling. But I couldn’t resist the impulse to try. I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a picture. As expected, it was blurry and dark and unrecognizable. I immediately deleted it, almost ashamed of myself. I went home and wrote about the magic of the night while it was still fresh. When I read over those words now, I feel as if I am still standing on that street corner.

While I will never give up my love for photography, I think it’s important to view photos as a memory aid, not a memory replacement. A picture isn’t always worth a thousand words.

Link to Writing Challenge:



2 thoughts on “A Snapshot. Without A Camera.

  1. Miss Amanda, I read this this morning before going out and exploring London, and I have to say that I am so glad I did! I am honestly not the best at taking pictures anyway, but when I made sure that I was taking the time to absorb what I was seeing, it’s much more memorable!

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