Put That Phone Down!

Article by Darren Rousar.

mona-clickImage credit: Bramfab

There was a time not long ago when taking a photograph required waiting to see the results. After you took the picture you had to take the film to a store that offered development services. By the time that technology was surpassed by digital, developing film took less than an hour at some places. Nevertheless, between click and squint you still had to wait. Nowadays, all that’s ancient. But is that a good thing?

In many cases, yes.

However, both the wait and cost caused some to think twice about taking a picture. Instead, we looked. And then, if a photograph was warranted, we thought it over before clicking.

And due to looking and thinking, we remembered.


The next time you go to a museum, observe how many people don’t really look at the paintings. They simply line up their smart phones and click. It’s akin to bird-watching. Minus the photographic proof, you didn’t really see the painting in question.

The same is true when sightseeing. The event would now be better termed sightsnapping.


As a result, no one really remembers seeing the Mona Lisa and the Golden Gate Bridge. They remember photographing it. And the photos rarely get looked at since there are so many of them on the phone and in the Cloud.

The sad thing is, that’s all backwards. Photographs on film were not the experience. They were used to help remember the experience after the experience happened. Oftentimes years later.

Put That Phone Down!

One of the best things you can do for yourself when visiting a museum or taking a trip is to resist the temptation to snap a photo with your phone. The same applies to witnessing a spectacular sunset or rainbow.

If you cultivate the habit of taking the time to really look before you take a photograph. That way, you’ll begin to actually experience the event and interact with it. You’ll also have a better memory of the experience at a later date.

Even better is to put that phone down altogether.

Instead, look with the intention of drawing from the memory of what you see. Then, once you get home, take a few minutes and draw the scene, painting, etc. from that memory.

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