Earlier in the year I had the pleasure of being a guest at a friend's wedding down in Dunedin. Prior to the wedding I considered taking my cameras and taking some photos, but in the end I decided against it. Even more so, after I learnt that my friend had a Dunedin wedding photographer documenting the day for them. At the start of the ceremony, the Celebrant explained that the bride and groom didn't want guests taking photos during their ceremony. Instead, they wanted guests to be totally present as they exchanged vows.
Though I didn't have my cameras, I did have my iPhone and truth be told, I was going to take a photo of the bride as she entered the church. When I heard my friend's request, I turned my phone off and put it in my pocket. I wanted to respect my friend's wishes.
As the bride walked past me, I turned to face the front of the church and I was surprised to see a number of people with smart phones and point and shoot cameras, taking photographs.
Given the Celebrant's request, I was pretty surprised.
Fast forward a couple of months and I have stumbled across this video - I Lost my Phone - which went viral in social media circles (34-million views and counting). The video is about how we use smart phones to document everything in our lives and how we can let smart phones become more important than a person sitting right next to us.
Now don't get me wrong. Technology is great. I love digital cameras, I love being able to process photos on a computer (as opposed to film days) and I love being able to take photos with my iPhone, when I have no other camera with me. But...at times, like I have described above, I think people step over a line with technology.
There is an inherent joy and beauty in being present in life, particularly when we are around family and friends and sharing special moments in our friends' lives. If we let our use of technology become too much, we run the risk of technology and the act of capturing a moment in time, become more important than the moment itself.
Though I missed taking a photo of my friend walking down the aisle on her wedding day, I didn't miss out on respecting my friend's wishes and being totally present for what is arguably, one of my friend's most important days in her life.