You Can’t Smell the Flowers Through a Camera Lens

Last weekend, I took a vacation to Colorado. I also, apparently, committed the cardinal sin of tourism: I refused to take pictures. And I would absolutely do it again.

Several of my friends and family asked to see pictures from the trip. I told them that I had a few landscape shots of the mountains, but that was the extent of photographs I had taken.

Everyone I told was in disbelief. They all had the same burning question: Why? Why would you go on a trip and not take pictures?

All I could think was, “Why would I?”

With the advent of social media like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, going on vacations is a karma train.

People will text you about your experiences, comment on your feeds or “like” your photos. In many ways, sharing your photos online has become a staple of vacation experiences. It just is not complete until the world can see all that you did.

Yet, I am perfectly content with opening my phone’s gallery and seeing a jarring absence of all things Colorado. I have all the memories neatly tucked away in my head, and they are not manipulated by filters, perfect angles or a ton of comments.

I didn’t go to Colorado to take pictures. I went to experience the outdoors, hike, and take in the culture.

I didn’t go for other people to live vicariously through my photos. I went to see a beautiful new place through my own eyes.

Some tourists may take pictures to help them remember things and give a better visual to whomever they are showing.

However, pictures aren’t necessary. Take in the scenery. Describe it to yourself. Write it in a journal and show your parents.

You’ll be more attentive and notice the little things. You’ll spend more time with the city, the museum, or the mountains that you’re in, rather than taking a quick picture and continuing on your way for more photo ops.

I have a lot of stories to tell about my trip to Colorado. None of them require pictures. And when I think back to what the Rockies looked like, I don’t remember them through a camera lens.

I remember how perfect they looked on the horizon while I, myself, was sitting just a few miles from them.

Nolan Alber, Junior, English Education Major

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