How a day without taking photos can change your worldview
During our two weeks in India I took 621 photos and videos. Or let’s say: within 12 days I took 621 photos and videos. Once a week I deliberately took a day off and didn’t take photos.
Why once in a week I refrained from taking photos
The reason is simple: mindfulness. On a day without photos I don’t feel forced to capture certain moments, situations or view. I recognize everything. Even the images that don’t really qualify to be photographed.
For instance, I look at cars that look just the same as in Germany. Or beautifully boring bus stops. I become aware of the structure of the pathways, the sneakers of the people in the park, print shops, street lights, the sky. During my photo-free day I am more perceptive than ever.
And the best about it: I become aware again of the fact that all these impressions are mine alone. Now, in this very moment, I see and experience this very part of the world. Nobody has ever seen it like this before, and nobody will experience it again like this – not even I myself. Actually it is this way in every second.
But with my camera hanging around my neck I wrongly imagine to be able to capture and keep the moment. However, people who look at my photos often see totally different things from the once that are important to me. And the vibe of a moment can hardly be captured on a photograph anyway.
More advantages of travelling without a camera for one day
- Less luggage. Without a camera I have to carry less.
- Hands free. I can pick up a leaf, tickle my baby’s foot and eat food from a street stand, without worrying about my camera.
- Walking flow without interruption. I don’t have to stop all the time – my companions neither.
- No worries about security. For everyone with the unpleasant feeling of attracting thieves with a camera, a day without it is pure relaxation.
- Less digital baggage. With my average I’d have 100 photos more on the memory card. 100 photos more to sort, print, save, …
How I organise a day of travel without camera
- Clear resolution. I irrevocably decide: On Sunday I won’t take any photos. No matter where we’ll go or what will happen.
- Hide cameras. In order to avoid any temptation, I pack all devices that are able to take photos into their bags and covers and then to the back and bottom of the closet, suitcase or backpack.
- Enjoy the day. It’s hard but I try not to think the whole time: Oh what a pity, this would have been a great shot. Instead, I become recognize my surroundings with all my senses.
- Question your actions. I ask myself: Why do I actually take photos? For whom do I take photos? Who will see them later? What do I show and what not? What would be the alternatives?
Why are there no photos on this blog?
This blog isn’t a travel blog in that sense. It’s about something bigger than my personal travel experiences. I want to inspire you to travel responsibly and aware. It’s hard to express that with holiday snapshots. That’s why you won’t find them here. Most of the images are from Unsplash.
The ultimate guide to taking pictures in Africa
I wrote an article about how to take photos in Africa. Beyond shutter speed and angle there are hints on using a camera mindfully.