Sometimes I worry that I take too many pictures. Sometimes I wonder if all those little detail shots, the selfies, the here’s-what-my-kitchen-looks-like-today, or the little ooo-the-light’s-perfect moments, sometimes I wonder if they’re just unnecessary? Because, throughout history, photography has always been a very limited art, you only had so many pictures on a roll of film and so many photos that could fit in an album. So the photographs that were taken were important, they told a story, they had a purpose. These days photography seems infinite. My memory card only fills up around a thousand photos when I’m shooting raw format and I’ve never even gotten close to maxing out the space on my external hard drive. But nevertheless, maybe, I think to myself, maybe I just don’t need a hundred pictures of my cat. Maybe I’m being wasteful.
Often I think about the photos I would print versus the photos I probably will never print and I wonder if the unprintable ones are ones I should stop shooting. I wonder if it actually makes me a bad photographer to photograph pointless things that don’t tell a great big story. I wonder if I would be better if I stopped shooting everything and started only shooting what is important.
But lately I have to come to realize that all the moments I photograph are important, even if they only tell a story to me. Looking back on my photographs from a year ago, the ones no one ever sees, the ones that don’t have a purpose to the rest of the world, they still hold a feeling, an emotion, a memory for me. A little moment, like a tortoise on a porch step, might seem inconsequential until that tortoise, named Charlotte Charles, is no longer in your life. Those hundred photos of my dog on the beach, might seem like way too many until he’s gone and I realize that each one has a different moment, a different expression, a different detail that I am so thankful to remember.
We, as photographers, are so incredibly lucky to exist in this time. We have an almost infinite amount of photographs to take, we can see any moment we want and save it, we can create nonsense and beauty without worrying about being wasteful. Some people will tell you it was better in the old days, when each photograph had to be well thought out and deliberate and I would argue that things are better now. As a very, very, poor girl, barely affording the gas in my car and the food on my plate, I’m thankful that I don’t have to invest money each time I shoot a photograph. As a sentimental person I am thankful that I can photograph all the little moments that don’t mean a thing to anybody but me. And as a photographer I’m thankful for the opportunity to shoot always, to share as much as I like, and to save in whichever way I choose.
So shoot those moments, save them, embrace them and come back to them. A photograph can tell a story, even if its one nobody else will understand.