Kate’s kids tell her, ‘Mummy please stop taking photographs’: For and against being really snap-happy

This summer, should you live it, or photograph it?

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour of Scotland
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour of Scotland

Often you can end up remembering the photo, rather than the actual moment you lived through. And there’s always someone who takes a few too many photos (and makes you scroll through them afterwards).

It’s something the Duchess of Cambridge’s children have pointed out to her. Speaking with a finalist of her Hold Still photography contest, Kate revealed that George, Charlotte and Louis are sometimes reluctant to let her take a picture of them. “Everyone’s like, ‘Mummy, please stop taking photographs’,” she said.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour of Scotland

Capturing a moment, a place or person can be a joy, but sometimes, is it better to just be, and put the camera away? We weigh up the pros and cons of taking the time and energy to take lots of photos this summer…

For

Have you ever heard that each time you remember a memory, you are in fact only remembering the last time you remembered it?

We aren’t nearly qualified enough to know whether it’s true, but memories certainly do decay, and by the time you regret not taking photos it’s usually far, far too late. It’s perfectly possible to both live in the moment and know you’ll want to revisit it, and it’s fairly easy to build up a sense of what makes a good photo.

If social media likes are your thing, being snapper-in-chief also guarantees a lot of them. Instagram has proven beyond doubt that people do want to see your holiday snaps – they’d just prefer a panorama of the Parthenon to a series of gormless seaside selfies.

And if you take enough photos, you might even become good at it – a talent that comes in handy everywhere from house parties to dating profiles.

Against

Some people really can strike a balance between photographing and enjoying, but otherwise it’s all too easy to start ‘collecting’ your experiences rather than living them, ready for display on your various social media feeds.

Apart from anything else, it’s very difficult to capture worldly wonders like Machu Picchu in all their glory, and you might spend your entire visit trying and failing to ‘do it justice’. Obsessive snapping cannot help but break your immersion, and it’s a hassle to have to constantly think about it as much as you do.

Being behind the camera also precludes you being in front of it, so unless you want to be that guy – the guy with the selfie stick, the photographic equivalent of socks-with-sandals – being the group picture-taker is a role that benefits others much more than you.

Once your role is set, there’s expectation. Cataloguing holidays and gatherings becomes your responsibility, and if there are gaps in your uploaded album, there’s nowhere else for the blame to go. Getting everyone posing properly can be like herding cattle, and your landscapes will make it painfully obvious if photography isn’t your calling.

No, far better to sigh performatively while your snap-happy friend lines up another group shot, while being secretly delighted you won’t have to lift a finger for your new profile pic.

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