Photo Prints,  Photography Tips,  True to Life

Nature Watch: Capture Them Before They’re Gone

It’s summer. No, it really is. We promise. Look outside. Go on. Bright isn’t it? While you’re out there drying your wellies and choking on insects and barbecue smoke, nature will be quietly getting on with business.

If spring is for show, then summer is for showing off. And, in summer, nature has plenty to show off about.

Bees. Busy. Bright. Bumbling. Awkward looking.

Butterflies. Delicate. Beautiful. Mysterious. Silent.

Birds. Graceful. Energetic. Full of life and song.

📸 Photo Credit: Claire Sager

Summer wouldn’t be summer without them. Nor would life. They’re just so vital. They’re a few of that almost invisible army of things we just take for granted will always be there. For us and for future generations. And, yet, their own future is uncertain.

Which reminds us of something.

Society’s Secret Army

They live in the shadows. They move about behind the scenes. Never in front. If they’re there at all, they’re looking the other way. Or they’re at the back. Hidden. Safe. Invisible. They’re nowhere and they’re everywhere.

In fact, it’s possibly the largest, most important, most secretive army on the planet. And, we guarantee, you all know somebody in it.

In fact, you may be in it yourself. What’s more, it’s a group, a club, where everyone’s a VIP.

VIP = Very Invisible Person 

📸 Photo Credit: Tracey Jones

Think about every photo you’ve ever taken, or have been in. Think about those “cheesy” moments. Try and remember.

Because, at some time, somebody important to you will be missing from that picture.

It’s a sad thought. But, every day, everywhere, important people in our lives just go missing. They’re still around, doing what they’ve always done with little fuss, but when life looks their way, pooof, they disappear. Only to reappear again when the spotlight has moved on.

It might sound trivial, but it’s actually a tragedy. Why?

A Ghostly Image

Before photography, if you wanted to be remembered, you had your portrait painted. If, in turn, you wanted to remember someone, you sketched their likeness, or you wrote a poem, or you kept a lock of their hair (yes, really!). To be honest, there was very little else you could do.

In the end, many people left nothing except for memories or a few second-hand tales. Nothing to console. Nothing to make bereavement bearable. Nothing to look at, or look back on. Nothing to remind others of their life journey and who they shared it with.

To us, those millions upon millions of people are now nothing but ghosts. How incredibly sad. Aren’t we fortunate not to live in such times?

Except, perhaps, we still do.

A Ghastly Image

The word “image” today has come to mean a whole lot more. It’s become not only how you present yourself, but how you’re seen and judged by the world. Until recently, an image’s reach was limited. Now it can be in front of the world within seconds. Your world. The whole world. Literally. Judged instantaneously.

It’s an awful word, ‘judged’. A massively anxiety-inducing word for many people. Especially Society’s Secret Army. It’s a word people can be too quick to use and an action they’re even quicker to take. It doesn’t always take into account background or context.

It places a “superficial” image to the forefront. It doesn’t know the whole truth. And, today, society seems depressingly fixated with image and depressingly comfortable with half-truths.

Always be you. Be true to life.
📸 Photo Credit: Julie Shaw

We are who we are because we’re social animals. Yet, the social and family group is now also an endangered species. Many people don’t know their neighbours. Many people haven’t seen some family members in years. We’re in danger of learning how to act socially, virtually. Via the internet. Through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Via fake news, fake friends, fake emotions, fake images.

And, knowing this, is it really a surprise that some people choose not to show up at all? Surely, it becomes acceptable that they don’t want to be part of that fake, judgemental world? Because, it’s a tough ask for the already insecure, the shy, the sensitive, right?

It’s Not a Spotlight

Well no it is NOT acceptable. Why? Because it’s not real.

Let’s put it into perspective. We’re not talking about images of interest to the general public here. We’re not talking front page of the newspaper. We’re not talking celebrity. We’re talking about you. Real-life, everyday you. You, in your own private little world.

There are many reasons we can think of why you may not want your image shown to the wider world. There are very few, if any, we can think of why you wouldn’t in your own home. Let’s be clear. The camera is not a spotlight. Not with friends and family. Not with loved ones.

📸 Photo Credit: Jo Woodbridge

It is NOT a Spotlight

Think about this.

There may be children alive today who will have nothing to remember their mothers or their fathers by. Imagine that. Literally nothing.

Mum never liked the way she looked. Dad was uncomfortable. Life separated them before memories could be made. Or, memories faded later in life and nothing physical exists.

“One day, all our children will have is photos of us. Make sure you’re in them. No matter what your hair looks like, your makeup or your body. They won’t care. They’ll just want to see you.”
📸 Photo Credit: Claire O’Connor

Likewise, there may be parents who’ll have large blanks in the record of their lives where their children were. How can that be when it only takes a second to take a photo? Well, those anxiety-ridden teenage years are a dark, silent battle ground for many families.

Overly dramatic? Those pictures we asked you to remember. Any empty spaces?

Find the Birds & Butterflies

Can you imagine empty skies? No birds? No bees? No butterflies? Nope, neither can we.

They might be silent, awkward, ill-fitting, but in life they’re that piece of the jigsaw that completes the picture. They’re too important not to be there. The space they leave when they’re gone can never be filled. Just like our loved ones. Just like our friends.

So please. Find the bees, birds and butterflies in your life and champion them. The ones that carry the goodness around. Encourage them. Urge them. Support them into a brave new future. Give them pride of place on your walls just as they have pride of place in your lives and in your hearts.

Don’t set them free for once. Capture them. Please. Take more photos.

But, importantly, do it with their cooperation. Do it respectfully, honourably, privately.

We don’t know where time goes. We just know it does. It passes. And you can watch it pass, or you can make it pass. You can watch the world go by. Or you can make the world go by. Nobody has their lives mapped out so don’t look for a map to follow. Make a map of where you’ve been.

Leave footprints. So others can see your journey and, if they wish, follow you there too. Truprint.

#maketheworldgoby #leaveamap #captureabee