The moment before a picture is taken
is an interesting moment in time … it almost seems as if it were suspended. What goes through your mind in that moment? The future? The present? Probably not the past … but certainly not what you were paying attention to before the camera came out.
If you’re a mom, pictures are probably massively important to you in comparison to the rest of your family. I don’t know why; it just seems to be wired into our DNA that it’s important to document our family’s development and special moments for the future to see, just like it’s wired in some mother’s DNA to enjoy seeing their kids dressed to match (for no explicable reason).
The thing that always caught my attention about the few seconds right before a photo is taken is how the people whose photo is being taken are so focused on an unknown future moment that they are normally unaware of a comical moment in the future. Instead of feeling aware or uncomfortable that passers by are gawking at them and their pasted-on, perma-grin fake smiles, they are focused on holding the perfect smile staring into the camera lens for just an uncomfortable 20 seconds longer than would usually be socially acceptable.
And why does it take so long to take a photo anyway? We live in a high speed age with digital this and instant that … why can’t it just take 5 seconds to take a photo? Have you been in that situation where you get yourself ready while the person looks at their (phone) camera … you get ready but don’t actually start smiling … the person about to take your picture says “OK” and holds up the camera … you smile … and then instead of having a flash or two go off and being done, they say something like, “Oops, it was on video”. All of a sudden the smile drops off your face. Happy moment gone.
Because that wasn’t actually a happy moment, it was a pretend happy moment. In that moment before a picture is taken, you realize that you still have to wait and let the person taking your photos actually put it on camera mode you realize that people are walking past you, looking at you.
So what happens in that moment before a picture is taken?
After years of having been on both sides of the camera, the following is the best way I can describe it.
In the moment before a picture is taken, we tend to put an invisible wall around us to shield us from our current reality (in this scenario a mom and her kids having her photo taken by her husband who is having difficulty getting the camera on the correct setting to take a casual photo in a semi public setting). We don’t want to focus on the people walking past us looking at us … we want a cool photo to show our friends of how cute our kids look (in those pretend matching outfits), how big they’ve grown, how lucky we are to have traveled or visited some (imaginary) place we’re standing in front of. So in essence, we leave the present for just a minute or two because the drive for a great photo is so strong that we are willing to suspend minor temporary uncomfortability in order to achieve potential long-term documentation of something we love. In essence, the drive to document our family (or ourselves) combined with the desire to bond our reality with our friend’s/family’s reality (even if just for a moment) is so strong that it suspends most present situations.
So there you have it men, that’s why you have to keep taking those silly photos – that’s a reasonably strong urge in a woman!