This past weekend, I did not take a single photo. It wasn’t because I was at the library studying, or because I was sick. I had an interesting weekend of travel around Andalusia and I chose to not take photos. This IS partly because my new phone is a potato and takes poor quality photos (see last week’s blog post). I was also too lazy to carry around my clunky DSLR camera. So, I have no photos of Granada and the beautiful gardens of the Alhambra (one of the top ten most beautiful places I have ever visited; it tops Versailles easily.) I have no photos of the Catedral-Antigua Mezquita in Córdoba or of the gnocchi at the Italian restaurant where the waitress spoke better English than Spanish. I’m so used to documenting my experiences through photos, that it felt strange to go on a guided tour without an iPhone in my hand or a camera hanging from my neck. I didn’t even pack my beloved selfie stick. I’m on the bus back to Madrid and can’t help feel I appreciated the places we visited more. Would Granada be as beautiful through a lens? I don’t think so.
Here are some reasons to leave your camera at home:
Be in the moment
This is a cliché, but clichés are usually true and this one is no exception. I love photos, but sometimes snapping the perfect Instagram post takes focus away from the moment.
Your eyes are the better camera
My friend took a photo at the Catedral-Antigua Mezquita in Córdoba and mentioned how the photo could not capture the beauty of the architecture. It’s true; cameras cannot capture the exact way light enters a room, or the detail of architecture or the feeling of a moment like your eyes can. I’ve encountered this problem when trying to take photos of the Spanish countryside. It’s impossible to capture the way olive trees make checkerboard patterns along the mountainsides. Impossible. Trust me, I’ve tried. Here’s another cliché: pictures just can’t do things justice.
Listen to tour guides
I’ll admit, guided tours can be boring. Moving slowly through a city with a large group of people trying to listen to someone speak can be awful. But, tour guides are almost always incredibly knowledgeable. They can tell you the history of a place from top to bottom, which helps you appreciate a place more. It can be hard to listen when you’re posing for a photo or kneeling on the floor to capture a building’s reflection in the water. Can you believe the Catedral-Antigua Mezquita in Córdoba had a capacity of 25,000 people in the year 800 AD? That’s incredible.
Other people will take photos
Even if you leave feeling a little photo-empty, know that other people will post countless photos on Facebook and Instagram for you to enjoy later.
I’m not asking you to completely ditch your camera. But, on your next trip, leave the camera at home and see what happens. You might be surprised.