Absorb what is happening

Ignite Life
January 13, 2014

Ignite Life this week is inspired from a facebook video (I will post the link) that triggered something in me and took back to the Fringe Club last year. My housemate and I were enjoying the Fringe Club and Paul McDermott came onto the stage to perform. He was doing his thing and then suddenly stopped his performance to request that no one film or take photographs. This was not because he didn’t like it but because he wanted people to see and feel the experience for themselves instead of through a screen. It got me wondering how often we do this, there can be an amazing performance right in front of us and we are too busy recording the moment that we forget to be in the moment.

I think that this world of technology is amazing and have really enjoyed taking pictures to share with the world in the past couple of weeks as I learn how to use Instagram #ignitearttherapies

But this has also reminded me of a time in my life where the camera served as a mask. When I left school I wanted to be a film maker so you could imagine my hobby was filming everything that moved and taking photographs constantly. Yes I can frame a picture well and can visualise how my cousins wedding video would look if professionally edited but most things were viewed through a tiny screen rather than with the lens of my own eyes. While I loved filming all of these events, it kept me at a distance from the action. This is something that is becoming more evident in our society as the ability to record the moment is only as far away as your mobile phone.

And even though I sit here writing this reflection, it doesn’t mean I am immune. Last Sunday I was lucky enough to go to the Aquarium in Melbourne with my friend and her daughters. As I said before, I am learning the art of Instagram and was quietly trying to take photos to share with the world but toward the end of the tour it got a little obsessive. I had come up with a funny caption to go with a penguin half in and out of the water. I proceeded to be purely focussed on getting the perfect picture rather than experiencing what magical things were happening in the rest of the display. Luckily feeding time jolted me out of this (although I did film some of it). There was so much to see and experience outside of the screen of my phone, particularly the excitement of children all around as they watched in wonder.

Photographs and film are records of time spent with loved ones, a beautiful scene, a momentous occasion, recording history for future generations or a moment in time. There is nothing wrong with this as all of the things mentioned are important , I am reminded of this everyday working in Paediatric Palliative care as an art therapist.

What I propose is that we still take the photos or film a moment but also be sure to see it for real, not through a screen. Absorb what is happening with all of your senses. Take photographs in your mind so that you can truly know what it was like to be there rather than having to search for the footage to remember that time. I know that I certainly will be more aware of this from now on.