The Unseen Side Of Photography And Making Memories
This is not an artistic photo with some deep meaning, this is the last photo I shot in a sequence before the water that’s hitting my camera wiped me on my ass and soaked me. None of my camera gear or belongings were ruined, just some bloody knees and shins, cut the webbing between my thumb and forefinger and a bruised ego.
This happened at Promthep Cape, in the southeastern most section of Phuket, Thailand. After a 40-minute scooter ride and 20-minute walk down to the tip of the cape I had decided to get some photos of the waves crashing while waiting for the sun to set and dip slowly into the ocean. Looking through the viewfinder and trying to focus on the task at hand lead to my feet getting soaked within minutes of getting out to the breaking point. I hadn’t been paying attention to the rhythm of the ocean and a larger wave crashed and from the knees down I was now drenched.
The area was wet but not slick, and I made a mental note that I’m in Southeast Asia, there’s no rescue crew around here and the last thing I want to do is end up in the drink. A few minutes later the photo above was captured and I did almost exactly what I feared.
As far as I’m concerned, I got off easy. But it really made me think about a conversation I had a year early with a client at my business about the experiential purpose and memories. How it was explained to me is as follows; The money we spend and what it’s spent on will dictate our memories, for better or worse. There has been proven documentation (someone find me the source, I’ll send you a print!) that spending money on an experience will almost always result in a longer lasting, more positive and better memory compared to a physical item.
For example, buying a fancy new vacuum cleaner is exciting, but two years from now it’s just another object in the closet that serves a purpose and the value (dollars spent) becomes near zero. Compared with an experience, going to a live concert, bungee jumping, travel, a ride along in a professional race car, etc., will create a long-lasting memory that, over time will actually get better.
And this is where our conversation become really interesting. It was further explained that many experiences have a downside and something bad happens. A bag gets lost by the airlines, someone gets sick, in this case I got knocked down by a wave (while a friend watched and laughed) and shed some blood. Operating the scooter on the ride home with torn and bleeding webbing between thumb and forefinger wasn’t fun, nor was the 80km/h winds while soaking wet, but looking back now, it was a blast!
I could have deleted the above photo, myself and two friends would know about it and that’s where it would end. Truth be told, it sucked but looking back I can see how it was probably funny to those who saw it happen. About 20 minutes later I captured the photos below, a bit shook, wet and bloody, but the memory now has become a great one. I can’t look at these sunset photos without thinking about the incident leading up to them.
This short series of images are all kind of similar, each one has unique properties I enjoy but I don’t think they would stand well on their own without the story that accompanies them. Photography isn’t easy, in this case it physically hurt but making notes and sharing the stories along with the photos is how I’m trying to create long-lasting memories.
Don’t be afraid of the crappy photos that happen in-between the good photos, sometimes they are the ones with the best stories.