In The Moment

“Family pictures are the most precious. I have a set of prints I carry around in my wallet of my kids, my husband and my parents. I look at those rather than writing a diary: they’re very evocative and textural and emotional, and take you back to specific moments. I change them every so often after they get worn out.

The picture I carry of my parents is a little old colour print of them hugging in the 70s, which is sweet. One of my husband and me was taken in a photobooth a friend rented for a birthday party. I love the old-fashioned booths where you get four different shots; they feel unique because you’ve got the only version that will ever exist. I also have a great photobooth strip of my son when he was really young. He’s crying at the beginning – then in the next photo my hand’s in there, giving him an ice-cream.“  Mary McCartney

I really love the tactility that photographer Mary McCartney here uses to describe her love of the printed photograph and her emotional attachment to them.

Photographs, whether viewing on paper or a screen, just like our memories, are objects, even experiences, that we can forever revisit, over and over again. This is the beauty of photography.

Some recent scientists claim that our obsession with popular, smartphone picture-making is unhealthy for our memories and that it dismisses our ability to accurately recall our true experiences. These scientists further claim that our photographic picture-taking compulsion diverts our attention from living in the moment and take us out of the moment.

Obviously, these scientists are not artists, poets, dreamers, idealists, creators…like so many of us today.

I don’t know about you but the process of taking photographs, and revisiting them, over and over again, doesn’t take me out of the moment. It keeps me in the moment. And even makes that moment bigger, better, stronger, more alive, real, tactile, experiential, personal.

I’ve been doing a lot of photo editing lately. And I have especially been paying close attention to my beating and bleeding heart rhythms, paces, pulses, cadences while editing my work.

Because of my strong visual acumen and acuity, when I’m looking at a photograph, for the second, third, fourth, fifth, or 100th time, in that moment, I can emotionally return to that moment, and experience, even celebrate, these same moments, and feelings from the moments, all over again. How glorious.

Life moments are fleeting. But because of our photographs, they live on and are strong. Our photographs keep moments alive and close to us.

Final thoughts from Mary McCartney

“I take a fair amount on my iPhone, quite a few on my 35mm Leica, plus on my digital camera, and I have a Polaroid, too. When I’m going on an assignment, I never know which cameras to take.

I’m embarrassed to say that my main camera is my iPhone”



Jack Hollingsworth