Have you seen the stunning photo collection “Removed” from photographer Eric Pickersgill circulating Facebook? This brilliant photographer puts a finer point on our increasing dependence on our smartphones with a series of photos of people in social situations. But something is clearly missing. They look like normal photos, but he erased the smartphones from their hands. Surrounded by other people, these people look oddly disconnected. Almost vacant. It begs the question – in our constant craving for connection are we missing out on the right now? What if instead of endless selfies and capturing every moment ourselves, we periodically put our phones down and let someone else capture the moment for us so we can savor it?
On a family roadtrip for Expedia this past summer, we were contacted by Nicole Smith, founder of Flytographer.com, a service that connects you with more than 280 carefully chosen local photographers around the world. She saw that we were on a family road trip and asked if we were interested in doing a family photo shoot to capture the memories of our trip. At first I was resistant to add one more thing to do in an already packed itinerary. I had my phone and my good camera, so I thought we could just have someone take a family shot of us somewhere along the way. But then I remembered our Flytographer shoot on our recent anniversary trip to Cancun, Mexico and how much we cherish those photos of the two of us. We decided to go for it.
Fast forward a few months – now the crisp air of fall is here and we’ve settled in to our new weekly routine of homework, carpools, soccer, and weekends filled with warm meals with friends, games, and fall football. I’m sitting in my home office, scrolling through the Flytographer pictures reminiscing about our crazy, seven-day road trip from Las Vegas to San Diego. All the pictures on my phone of this trip are fabulous, but these, these photos make my heart melt.
In the spirit of keeping it real, what you can’t tell by these pictures is that earlier that day, we were bickering and cranky. We had to go shopping because all of the outfits we packed were now dirty and wrinkled from being stuffed in a suitcase for six days on the road. We had a bathroom emergency on the beach that didn’t end well. It was raining in San Diego so we almost called off the photo shoot. But Flytographer encouraged us to keep it on the books and now looking back at these photos, I’m so glad we did. Because what I see now is how after all that multi-tasking, tweeting, video and photo taking, we are a family who loves each other deeply. A family that – despite an intense week together – long lines, lots of driving, checking into a new hotel each night, juggling conference calls with lines at theme parks – we still had the energy to connect, smile, and be silly together.
A big thank you to our Flytographer Talia Cruz. It is her talented eye who snapped these photos of us together on this trip! We are forever grateful to have put our phones down and let you capture this moment!