"The Photographer" Amongst Friends and Family
Most people that know me personally tend to associate me with cameras and photography. Like many of you, there are times that I want to put my cameras down and enjoy life's pleasures. Friends and family always tell me to bring the girls (my cameras are named Dahlia and Evelyn). It can get frustrating, but I've learned how to deal with the demands, and make people realize that there's a human being behind the viewfinder.
Friends and family are very important to me. However, I would be lying if I said that there haven’t been times where I've just wanted to eat, drink and be merry, without someone saying, "Chris, take a picture of this…Wait, I want one more! Oh wait, we need my mom in the photo, can you wait a minute?"
More often than not, I'd end up standing there with my hands on the lens and finger on the shutter-release button, instead of digging into a pile of onion rings. After the party I'd go home, upload the photos onto my Macbook, import, edit in Lightroom 3, export, and put them up on Facebook. This was usually done while responding to texts saying things like, "Post the pix!!! :)" or "Great meeting you last night, I can't wait to see the photos!!! Let's meet up for drinks sometime ;) k bye!"
After posting the photos, I'd be bombarded by notifications (both on Facebook and email) around every 10 seconds about so and so commenting and so and so responding. I'd end up reading entire conversations that unfolded regarding the photos, and random misadventures.
Eventually, it escalated to the point where I just didn't want to take anymore photos of a person's cat or that certain friend—and we all have one—who poses the same exact way for each image. It even got to the point where if someone had asked me to bring my camera, but I didn't want to, I'd simply just not go to the event, and I'd spend the night playing video games or reading web comics. Why? Hell hath no fury like an angry girlfriend when you don't have your camera at a Halloween party.
Finally, one night I said no. And the expressions on my friends’ faces turned into looks of total shock. Then something amazing happened. Someone said, "He shoots all day, maybe we should give him a break."
I breathed a sigh of relief.
Over time, the confidence to say “no” came more often. Whether it was friends, family, or a girl I was dating, I began letting people know when I didn’t want to bring my camera. As a result, people discovered that there is a lot more to me than just photography.
That's how the cameras went back into the camera bag; there was no longer a need to lug around a DSLR and a zoom lens. There are lots of times when I wish that I had my camera with me. My phone works fine for most of those unpaid moments. But even then, there are times where I've wished that there was a camera engineered into my eye. Since there isn't, I've learned to just let go, and realize that I just won't capture every moment.
Maintaining the balance is more important.