A camera in your head

Managed to muck up my lower back this morning. Haven’t done that in a long time. Means haven’t found pics for this post so this will have to do.

On a visit to my parents at least 25 years ago, and probably longer, she and I went for a walk (with the dog) around the development in which they lived. It was a place outside of Detroit: big houses on fairly large plots of land. Big front and back gardens, long drives. Really, the only reason you would find it is if you lived there (or had been given directions because you were visiting or delivering something). Which is to say it was very quiet. You hardly ever saw other people during walks. Certain times of year you’d see ducks or other birds but that was basically it.

Anyway, on said walk I must have seen something unusual because I think I said I wish I has a camera so I could remember that. My mother turned to me (dog probably did too because my mother was the favourite  of every dog we ever had and whatever my mother did, the dog did it too) and said, “you have a camera in your head – use it”.

Her point was if you try hard enough you can implant a memory of something. You don’t need other means of recalling a favourite image etc.

It’s a comment that has stayed with me for a long time.

I love tech – MacBook, iPad, iPhone (even have a PC laptop as well). Ninety-five percent of the time when I leave the house I’ve at least got the phone with me. My work life is based around emails so I need something on me that enables me to access mail – even when I’m out and about I need to be able to say to the guy I work for ‘yes, I can take that in an hour’.

However, when I walk the dog (once or twice a day) and do my solo walk I don’t take my phone. Those outings are informed by my mother’s comment from years ago. There’s always something to see and remember on these outings – even if it’s just a young rabbit bopping across a lane, different flowers, ancient oaks growing out of the Devon banks – you get the idea.

And every once in a while something pops up that requires stopping and taking a serious look and imprinting the image on the camera in my head. In the past month, that’s been a fawn at dusk in the middle of a lane (even the dog knows you stop and stand very still if you see something like that – after all, he was raised in a semi-rural area: you do not chase non-dog beings of any sort [plus he’s afraid of cats]); the other was a little egret sitting on a fence in the middle of a hot afternoon.

I definitely make use of my camera phone but generally that’s for more mundane things (like trying to come up with a banner photo for that week’s Posse post or taking a pic of a job posted in a shop window for my son).

So what about you? Are you a selfie maven or an unreconstructed luddite (no phone at all), or somewhere in-between?

  • Patty says:

    I used to use my phone more for all sorts of pics. Now I miss using my big camera, but it just isn’t convenient, so I keep using my iphone and being unhappy about it.:(

    • Cinnamon says:

      I haven’t had a ‘proper’ camera for years. But that sort of things seems to make a huge difference regarding composition and quality. A couple of reports I’ve read recently have discussed the rising quality of camera phones but I imagine you still don’t get as good a result as with a ‘real’ camera.

  • alityke says:

    The phone is usually with me but tucked away in my bag or pocket. Counts my steps but will be on silent.
    Photos are mostly of the dog +/- husband or of perfume I’m selling on.
    Maybe some lovely calm, sunny seascapes I look at when I’m feeling frazzled but otherwise? Nope!

    I even forgot to take one of the youngest son when we hadn’t seen him for 18 months. I drank him in with my eyes & our time picnicking near his new home is embedded in my head like a film. Hubby isn’t a photo taker either.
    I did miss the son’s signature scent though. He wore Prada Infusion pour Homme exclusively from Uni until he finished the last bottle I could find in the UK, Tenerife or Gran Canaria. It was such a part of him.

    • Cinnamon says:

      oh, yes, pics for blog posts, pics to explain something … but I’ve never been comfortable with things like selfies. It’s great your son’s scent is an embedded memory.

  • Dina C. says:

    I grew up in a family where both parents enjoyed taking photos, and an extended family where everyone owned a camera, so I’m lucky that I get by taking just a moderate amount of pictures. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t own a camera and almost never uses the one in his cell phone. Doesn’t even have wallpaper photos of the family (or ME!) on his phone. He thinks my family is hilarious for all the photos we take of each other at family reunions.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I love the idea of having records of things, but I guess I feel our world has changed so much that stepping back a bit might not be a bad thing. I do love the photo albums my father put together over his life. Does your husband feel he benefits from your family’s activity?

  • Kathleen says:

    I love your Mom’s advice to use our camera in our head! I am not a fan of cell phone 24/7, I resent it. I need my alone time and unless there is an emergency, I don’t feel the need to respond immediately to anything while out walking with my dog. I find more value in taking in sights without fumbling with my phone camera to catch an image.
    I hope your back feels better soon.

    • Cinnamon says:

      My mother had all kinds of weird and wonderful ideas (for a long time she believe bikini underwear was bad and would fall down — until she started wearing it herself). It sometimes seems to me a very good psychological exercise to consciously move away from tech for a while.

  • Portia says:

    Phone in hand at almost all times. Not because I need to be contacted, and not because I can’t remember (though that is becoming more of a problem lately).
    If I see something marvellous, if we are out with buddies, if the light is just right or the food looks so yummy then I want to share that with my mates all over the world.
    It’s the only way I stay in contact and up to date with most of my friends. A little piece of my world in a snap, or better still a piece of THEIR world in a snap on my feed can remind, update, include and communicate.
    I totally get where you’re coming from Cinnamon but I never had a job that called incessantly or a life where the phone was a burden. So my phone is a pleasure, not a yolk.

    Bad backs are crap. Heal quick.
    Portia xx

    • Cinnamon says:

      I have a FB friend (a friend from long ago in NY) who is an ‘amateur’ photographer (she’s really very good) who uploads photos almost every day. I wouldn’t want her to stop doing that as many of the pictures are quite astonishing. But, it’s not something I do — or would think of doing. And every once in a while I think something she posts is a bit too intimate for social media and I wonder about her thinking on such things (eg, pics of her kids). Another friend runs a business and posts pics related to that, but she doesn’t post much else (she runs a dog care business).

      • Portia says:

        Do you follow any of the perfume people on Insta? Some of their stuff is really creative, beautiful and even fun. I love to scroll through their SOTDs with pics, often with cute, glam or silly accessories.

  • Musette says:

    No phone on walks for persackly what you, Tara C and March said. Takes me out of the moment. Also, gimmeabreakalready! I do NOT need to be yoked to that thing for the 10 minute time with TGirl. You let me win Lotto – first thing I would jettison is my phone (I would keep one for 911s but that’s it). I really am not a fan.


    ps. sorry about your back! Better, soonest!


    • Cinnamon says:

      Have to say I am rather attached to the iPhone, but that’s more for communication reasons. I like being able to say to my work guy ‘I’m out — won’t be back for while. maybe give that long, poorly written thing to someone else …’ Tx on back. very annoying.

  • Tara C says:

    I rarely take my phone on a walk. I almost exclusively enjoy my mind camera. Taking pictures of everything takes me out of the moment.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I also find that the faff of getting out the phone etc sometimes results in missing the image all together (birds don’t tend to hang around long once they’ve realised you’re there).

  • March says:

    What a great post. I mostly don’t walk around taking photos of everything (including, at the moment, Santa Fe) because it’s a kind of distancing — the way I look at/think about something for a photo is not the same as … looking at it and taking it in. And I’ve been so glued to my phone for weeks (waiting for random calls for all things move-related for the kids and me) that I’m sick of it. I’ve been turning it off, or leaving it home when I go out, now that I can. You know, like we used to do in ye olden days.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Thank you. I’m certainly (well, clearly from the post) not anti tech but sometimes I’m just reminded of that conversation decades ago and it makes me think. I sort of like the effort of making myself look hard enough at something to imprint it on the brain. Like the fawn. Ah, them olden days … I sort of like being a throwback in some small, rather inconsequential ways (still not on twitter).