One year when I was in High School, my aunt,uncle and cousins (all around our age) drove their camper trailer out from California and we met them in Durango with our family trailer. I wasn’t able to make the trip that year, but my uncle who enjoyed amateur videography, made a video that made the two-week vacation look truly perfect: fun, family, and the outdoors. Everyone had such a great time, they decided to do it again the next summer. After seeing the fun from the previous year, I took a week off work to go down and experience at least the first half of this wonder-cation. Not only was I convinced by the video, but another uncle and cousin also drove out to camp in a tent.
Now we all know camping is a lot of fun when you can explore the outdoors: go for a hike, tube down the river, barbecue some food. All those things depend on good weather which we usually have in a Colorado summer, but the entire week that my other uncle and I were there, it rained. In the prisons of our trailers, 12 people started to feel like a bit claustrophobic and my uncle and I both noticed that no videos were being taken of 8 people crowded around a table playing a board game. As a result, we started regularly using the catch phrase: “This was not on the video”, whenever new unpleasant situations showed up. I still use this phrase from time to time when things vary greatly from how they are billed.
A utopian vacation doesn’t exist even if we can make it look like it through the pictures and videos we take. We chose what we want to remember and we take pictures as a way of solidifying the memories we want to keep and it works. We capture the emotions we felt so we can relive them later. But it creates a biased view of what was real. We don’t take pictures of the mundane, the lunch we scrap together from what’s in the fridge, the walk to the mailbox, the normal moments of life. Yet this is what most of life contains. Something to remember when we’re looking at pictures or taking them. What do we want to remember?