Smile, Say Cheese and Enjoy




Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world filled with picture perfect scenery ready for a hashtag no filter post on the trendiest social media platforms. But when do we stop posting and start enjoying? I get the need to pose and post but where do we draw the line on making memories not documenting them? Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a good photo of the Eiffel Tower but sometimes we need to put the camera down and take in the scenery. As a first generation student, I am the first of my family to every travel beyond south of the border so pictures are a must. Documenting your experiences are a great way to share your experience with people that can’t be there with you but what about actually being present in the moment.

As I see the Eiffel Tower my instinct is to take a picture and walk towards it but I regress and stare at it. I make sure to look at the beautiful sky that acts as a backdrop as well as all the people around it, asking myself why this tower is so special and enjoying its beauty first. Right after, of course, I snapped a photo and posed in front of it. As I start to look, feel, and live before snapping a pic I find myself to feel more connected to every photo I take. I can see my experience in the photo rather than trying to depict the perfect experience in a photo.

In the Louvre I noticed that many students and tourist snapped a picture and moved to the next painting without ever looking at the composition, placement or details of all the amazing artwork throughout the building. It saddened me to see people walk past beautiful art pieces and into a field of people trying to get a picture of the Mona Lisa. I made sure to look at other art pieces before seeing the famous Mona Lisa. I waited in the crowd of cameras and arms to get an up-close glimpse of the Mona Lisa. With all honesty I was a little disappointed with it–probably because I have seen an abundance of prints with the iconic image before even arriving at the museum. But I got to see this iconic image that my family will probably never see up close so my camera had to come out of my pocket. I lifted my arm and turned around to get a slightly blurry selfie with the Mona Lisa–as the crowd shoved forward. But at the end of that day, I went back and saw my pictures all of which had a story and memory to tell. Let’s continue taking pictures, smiling, and saying cheese but first enjoy the place. A picture may be worth a thousand words but a memory is worth much much more.