March 6 2017 – Ranthambore, India
Today I saw a tiger for the first time. We were on a jeep scouting through dirt roads in the national reserve and when we got to the river bed there she was: enchanting, majestic, so beautiful. She walked slowly till she stopped right in front of me, just 2 meters away. She stared into my eyes, intensely, like waiting for me to see her, and instead of staring back and let that instant grab me I grabbed my camera instead and started shooting—I had to, it was my job—Within a few seconds she was gone, and all i had left were some mediocre shots and the bitter feeling i had just missed out on an amazing moment that will never repeat itself.
It was almost like I never even saw her, like I wasn’t even there. From deep down I heard a tiny crack braking in my heart.
I went back to my hotel feeling uneasy, I couldn’t shake away the bitterness of that morning and a question I never considered before started torturing me:
“Is photography stopping me from fully living my life?”
When I was a fashion photographer I never had this thoughts, i would only pic up the camera on set and leave it at home on any other occasion, but now that traveling became my job i’m almost forced to look at life through a viewfinder.
Travel photography is made of captured moments, you never know when the right picture could appear in front of you, so leaving the camera at home is simply not an option, the fomo is too strong, I have to have it on me 24/7 (sunrise to sunset actually!) just in case. But then, when I am being busy taking pictures, i am never able to fully live the beautiful moments travel is made of because that damn camera stands in between.
So photography is my curse and my blessing. Without it I wouldn’t be able to live this kind of life and travel constantly and see the beauty the world has to offer, but with it though, I’m stuck into this in-between-realm where i’m there but i’m not.
Being a photographer sometime means you have to sacrifice the present for the future. Missing out on living the moment to create something you’ll look at later on to remember that instant that never really was.
This is not a problem only professional photographers have, actually, in today’s social media ruled reality I think this issue affects the rest of us even more. Lately I’ve been finding myself feeling envious of people who don’t have to take pictures for a living and can instead sit back and enjoy what’s in front of their eyes freely. I feel disappointed and even angry when on my travels I see so many people that are so lost taking shitty pics with their fucking selfie sticks to even look at a place with their own eyes, wasting magical moments. And for what? To have memories to look at in the future or to have some visible proves that “I was there” to show to
other people? But wouldn’t it be better to actually BE there instead of throwing that luck away for a blurry cheap shot?
Maybe not everything should be a picture and we should all draw a line at some point and put our phones and cameras down and start looking with our eyes and hearts.
Maybe, just maybe, we should ask ourselves: “If nobody would ever see this picture, would I still take it?