Taste Experience to the Utmost

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Lyke Wake Walk - Pink Sunset

The pinkest sunset we have ever seen – and we wouldn’t have seen it if we hadn’t have stopped to look around, including behind us. 

I would love to sit here and tell you that every morning I wake up bright eyed and with a smile on my face, fling open the curtains and say “life is all about the journey, make the most of every step” out loud to myself, bounce downstairs and make a cup of tea and a tasty healthy breakfast, before cycling to work ready to start a productive day in the office.

But that wouldn’t be true. Not by a long way.

It’s more like being forced into a conscious state by the ringing of my alarm clock, opening my eyes slowly with a frown on my face, reluctantly getting out of bed and looking out the window at the dark and damp morning, stomping down the stairs to make a cup of tea and munch on a banana, before rushing out to get to work on time.

I know I’m not the only one.

There has been lots of talk online this week about life being “instagrammed”. I think we all know that just because the photographs we see on Instagram might seem perfect doesn’t mean that the circumstances surrounding that photo are all they are cracked up to be. Someone might seem to have the best life ever but be assured they have worked hard to get that shot – whether it be by setting up the scene and taking 100 pictures before choosing the best, or by practising relentlessly whatever it is they are doing when the picture was taken. I love a bit of Instagram but am fully aware that we all only pick the nicest things to share.

Lots of people have got way up on their high horse over this. And while I completely appreciate where it’s come from and believe honesty is always the best policy, I don’t actually think there is anything intrinsically wrong with picking the photograph you like the best to share with your friends online. It doesn’t matter that you discarded ten photos of your dinner before picking the one with the greenest peas, or re-took your selfie five times in the bathroom mirror until you had the perfect pout. That’s obviously not me; I wouldn’t know the first thing about pouting – other than what Michael McIntyre taught me about saying “prune” – but I definitely pick the best smile or the one where I have my eyes open rather than closed.

Eleanor Roosevelt said: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

So here’s the challenge. Life is all about experiences. Not about photographs. We have two jobs to do for ourselves. One is to search out opportunities that make our life a happy one. Only we know what they are. The other is to make the most of those opportunities a and fully appreciate them. It doesn’t matter if our body, face, house, children, job, food, car, Saturday, holiday, yoga ability or anything else is particularly instagrammable or not. What matters is that we make the most of what we have, put our all into the things we do, and keep striving for the next thing that will make us smile on the inside and the outside.

By all means, take photos and share your experiences on Instagram and everywhere else – I know I do. Taste experience to the utmost. Go and create memories. Photographs are a bonus.

Life is all about the journey. Experience first. Photograph second.


4 Responses

  1. Steve Williams

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on life and photography. As a photographer I’ve often wondered if my photos are enhancing my life or robbing me of experience — an ongoing internal debate for years. Reading your post I started thinking about how different things were when I was shooting film. And therein may be the difference. When I make a photo with my Leica M6 I would see something, compose, shoot and go on my merry way. With digital I take the picture, look at it, adjust, shoot again, and repeat until I have what I want. That process may not take long but what I’m effectively doing is reducing my experience to a little television show on the display and start playing director. It’s that process that tends to sanitize experience. And you learn quickly what looks good and what doesn’t.

    Anyways, as a photographer the camera is ever present but largely invisible because I can work at a near subconscious level where it’s not robbing of experience in the process of making the picture but the directing and editing — that’s another thing all together. I better make sure on my blog I’m not hiding the fact that I’m an old white guy…

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

    • Splodz

      Hey thanks for your comment. I love the process of getting a really great shot. I have no problem with moving myself or my subject to get everything as good as I can. I do try to make sure I take in the view for myself first, though, and take the photo to help keep the memory locked in my thoughts. Photography is the best thing for that.

  2. Shybiker

    Great post. Love the quotation.

    I appreciate your point about not living a fake life with misleading photos but I believe you and I don’t do that — we lead real exciting lives that are recorded by photos and extended by them. Sure, I edit my pics to look more pleasingly feminine but everyone knows that. And your amazing outdoors photos speak for themselves. Nice points!

    • Splodz

      Yes our lives are exiting and we both love to show it through our photos. I don’t think anyone minds us showing our favourite photo from a bunch we take, it’s part of the joy of what we do 🙂

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