Let me start off by saying, I am not completely against selfies and videos. In fact, the more organic and unique of the moment, the better. For those who follow me on social media, you probably notice that I have cut down considerably on selfies and random pictures. In fact, I would venture to say that about 35% of my pictures this year does not have me in them. Meh…blah. Anywho, about the fireworks thing…
So, there I was. Fifth of July. Thousands of local residents gathered around on by the James River on Brown’s Island (which it wasn’t a real island, but meh…I don’t get to name these things). The aroma of funnel cake and other various deliciousness from food vendors swimming through the air. God Himself, dimming the lights in preparation of the firework display that everyone came to see. What made the anticipation even greater was the fact that the firework display was produced by Grucci – the world’s most prolific firework company. I’m not sure what Richmond did to deserve such a treat, but I’m glad my family and I was there to see it.
The clock read 9:15pm. We just so happened to be located by the speakers, giving the fireworks a soundtrack. After hearing the first cracking sounds, and seeing the first set of fireworks, I noticed something. I noticed myself, searching for my phone. Around the same time, I also noticed thousands of phones and tablets being raised to the air to capture the fireworks on film. Last year, I did this. And the year before that as well. You know…the thought “hmmm…let me take a picture of the fireworks to post on social media.” Then I looked down at my kids and I noticed that they weren’t looking for their phones. Sure, they are less than 7 years old, so they don’t have the luxury of paying for a phone bill or the freedom to create a social media account, but I overlooked the obvious and focused in on something else. Something genuine. Something that is often taken for granted. The moment. Here are my kids, just…enjoying the moment. One of those “you had to be there to witness this” moments. Eyes wide in amazement.
Then I started to briefly think of the firework pictures and the small video I recorded last year. Come to think about it, those pictures looked like every other picture I saw on Instagram last year. Dark with a typical firework in the sky. Plus at the speed and unpredictability of these things, you’d have to take several pictures almost simultaneously just to get the “perfect” shot. Then I remembered, the last time I saw the small video of the fireworks was July 5th. Yep, the next day. It wasn’t like I pulled the video up in October and viewed it again. It also wasn’t like I got 1,000+ likes last year.
There I was…fearful that I was thinking like an old man. “Look at these people. Programmed.” The biggest light show in front of their face and they have a device that’s blocking it JUST so they can pretend that they are gonna view this next week. As if to say “man, I’m glad I recorded this, since I WASN’T THERE.” As if uploading these pics would draw traffic to their profile page. As if anyone…cared. So often we miss the present because we’re too busy recording it. Now…before I get stones thrown at me, again, let me say that I am NOT completely against taking photos and videos of stuff like this. In fact, my wife picked the perfect time – the finale – to start recording the fireworks. But for the most part, we have become too obsessed with selfies, pictures, etc. that clogs our phone hard drive and social media accounts. The honest truth is that no one truly care as much as you do about these pics.
So I say all of that to say that, yes, I took it back to the 80s and 90s with my choice to not take any pics. Yes, I saw some of the most amazing fireworks, and guess what? You had to be there to witness it. #LifeSelfie
[blockquote author=”me”] The best camera in the world are the eyes that God gave you. [/blockquote]