Sarah Perez’ post over at ReadWriteWeb entitled “Technology is Great, but Are We Forgetting to Live?” resonates with me. I don’t like to view everything through a camera lens and thus do not record everything that I see. Seeing fathers film every move of their families on vacation from the moment they wake up until they go to bed always puzzles me and I never want to do that.

If I want to record something, it is done with a still camera to capture that very moment. That is more like a cue for later to recall the event. If I looked at a video, I would not have to think so much myself but have everything played out before my eyes.

When I am behind a video camera lens, which happens primarily only when I record public lectures that are organized by our study programs at the university, I realize that I see the events differently. I cannot not look at the display to follow the lecturer or the participants. Of course, then my field of vision is limited and my attention is not so much focused on what is actually said, but thoughts of “is this shot positioned nicely”, “count till 4 until you pan again”, “don’t zoom in too jaggedly”, “oops, I should have started to move earlier”, “should I switch the light settings now or wait until later”, “will there be a good moment for switching camera tapes”, “great; I’m in the right position to tape the presentation” etc. shoot through my head. Thus, I miss a great many discussion points and can only console myself with the fact that I can watch the recording later on.

Using a still camera is easier for me. I can take it out fast and put it away as quickly. With a video camera, I feel I have to stay “on” longer to capture the conversation / what happens. My still camera gives me more freedom in deciding when, what, and for how long to record something. I carry a camera with me at all times (you gotta love these tiny digital cameras), but I do not take it out to snap away at everything. Sarah Perez put it nicely:

The fine line between what’s worth documenting and what’s not is a hard one to define. We immediately assume that the most important, the biggest, the most incredible moments are those that should be recorded. But it’s these very moments that are best to experience live, with our full focus.

And I surely did not record some of the best moments in my life, but these are the moments that do not require a visual or audiovisual cue to recall.

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