The Photo I Didn’t Take

In Film, Inspiration
Scroll this

There are times when my camera is tucked safely in my bag, ready to grab when the moment strikes me. As I move through the day, I am able to document and capture the beauty or mood of a scene.

And then there are times when, for whatever reason, I leave my camera at home. I might have a busy day and my camera is too heavy, too cumbersome, to carry around. Of course, I might regret not having it when I see something, or feel something, that I want to photograph. As photographers, we’ve all been there, right?

But there are also times when I have my camera with me, and I choose not to use it. It’s the photo I didn’t take, even though I could

Sometimes I want to enjoy the moment and be present and not behind a viewfinder.

I didn’t take a photo when I saw my mother cry at her brother’s funeral. Those raw emotions drew me in, but I wanted to respect her privacy.

I didn’t take a photo when my daughter came home excited that she had made the gymnastics team.  She had such a sparkle in her eye and her excitement was contagious. I wanted to be there for her in that moment and I listened intently as she told me all about it.

I didn’t take a photo of our last trip to Florida, not knowing it would be our last in a very long time. My husband and I needed that alone time and I wanted to be fully present and rest, not worry about getting the shot. Needless to say, it was a great trip.

I take plenty of photos, and there are none that I regret. 

And there are countless other photos I didn’t take, and that’s ok too. I lived those moments. I remember those moments. I don’t need photographic evidence to hold them close to my heart.



  1. I do this as well. Photos have become some ubiquitous now, it’s as if memory can not exist without an image to anchor it, but it absolutely can if you make the conscious choice to let it and that process can be a gift.

    • Thanks, Deborah. Sometimes I just want to enjoy the moment. Memories will be there – regardless if a photo exists or not.

  2. Your post came at the perfect time for me! I’m taking a break from the regular routine of making and sharing pictures, and I’ve had little withdrawal. But as I settle in, and learn to embrace what is unfamiliar, I’m finding a new freedom, too. There are photos that I do not take every day, and that’s okay. Thank you!

    • Absolutely, Donna. Creativity in photography ebbs and flows. There is no forcing it. Not taking photos is very much ok!

  3. Love the study of this idea! I think a lot about this, but haven’t seen it talked about much. Beautifully said Azzari!

  4. Thank you for that perspective and reassurance. Sometimes I feel like I missed out by not capturing particular moments.

Comments are closed.