As a final project in my Digital Photography class my professor told us that he wanted us to take pictures of something we were passionate about or something that we wanted others to know. After thinking about it I decided that what I wanted to try and show through photos is how technology can affect relationships.. negatively.
This is something that I have been trying to control in my own life this last year. With my photography business taking off I found myself constantly on my phone or computer. Starting a new business was so exciting. Receiving emails from people that wanted to work with me, messages on social media, new followers, new posts, having several sessions that I needed to edit, etc etc etc. There was a lot to do and before I knew it, I was doing it ALL THE TIME. So much that it started to interfere with other very important things in my life, most importantly my marriage. I am sure Bradon felt like he was competing for my attention with my business, phone and computer and that is SO not fair. So I made a change and I am continuing to work on it. Thanks to good communication with my husband and an example of mindfulness from my mom, I am more present. I still have the same amount of work to do, actually a lot more work, but I am not so distracted. I’ve decided that sometimes those other things can wait. I don’t have to be on my phone every minute. I don’t have to respond to emails right at that moment. I don’t have to always edit photos while we watch a show. Relationships are always more important than things to get done.
Obviously I still work. My husband and I communicate well and if I express to him that something needs to get done, he is patient. If I ask him to wait 5 minutes for me to finish a task on my phone, he will. He is patient and he will wait 5 minutes because he trusts me that after I finish that task, I’ll stop working or that after 5 minutes my phone will go away for the rest of the night. If I am so behind on editing and need to edit while we catch up on This Is US, he is okay with it. This is all because of a balance. The difference I have felt in my life is amazing and I am grateful that we were able to stop the problem before it became massive. I am not perfect and sometimes I need to be reminded, but it is a definite improvement.
So. That is what I wanted to show in these photos. I wanted to help others recognize that while technology is such a blessing, it is also dangerous. Even if no one sees these photos, it was a good reminder to me. The funny thing about this project though is that I have waited until last minute to take the photos. BACK OFF IM BUSY. lol. So while these photos have great potential to be storytellers, they may just be average. I mean its Monday morning and they are due tomorrow…. and I am just taking them. Classic. If that isn’t the definition of my semester of school, I don’t know what is. haha. So while the pictures may be average, the message is important and if it makes just one person think about how their technology habits may be affecting their relationships then it was well worth it. That and the fact that I need to pass this class… holler.
This morning I decided to read a talk from the October 2017 LDS General Conference, “Spiritual Eclipse” by Elder Gary E. Stevenson. This talk was a random selection so it was really cool how well it fit into what I am trying to do with this project. Elder Stevenson talked about the recent solar eclipse that happened in August and compared it to what things in our life can create spiritual eclipses, blocking out the light, brightness and warmth of Jesus Christ and His gospel. I want to touch on a few points that I loved from this talk :
“Blindness is brought upon the man by himself. When we draw other things too close, placing them first, we obscure our vision of heaven.”
(Elder Neal A. Maxwell)
This quote made me think about my life. What am I putting first? Are my priorities right? How am I blinding myself? Life for Bradon and I has been really difficult this year. We have been through a lot and the stress, grief and sadness started to pile up. We began to put everything else first in attempts to keep our heads above water. Work, school, physical challenges and illness, more work, loss, fatigue, getting into school, money, even more work, etc etc etc. All of these other things in our lives took place of the most important things like scripture study, daily prayer, regular temple attendance, etc. Before we knew it, we had blinded ourselves from the warmth, light and comfort of the gospel. After a much needed wake up call, we decided to make some changes. The most amazing part about the gospel and love of our Heavenly Father and Savior is that we can change. Filling our lives with the simple daily things of the gospel makes it possible for us to bear up the difficult stuff that life throws at us. I can testify of that!
“The use of social media, mobile apps, and games can be inordinately time-consuming and can reduce face-to-face interaction. This loss of personal conversation can affect marriages, take the place of valuable spiritual practices, and stifle the development of social skills,..”
This says it perfectly!!! Don’t let things on your phone take the places of REAL people and REAL experiences. Look up from the phone and recognize what you are missing. (Saying this to myself as much as anyone else). This is the true purpose of my school project.
SOCIAL MEDIA RISKS
IDEALIZED REALITY and DEBILITATING COMPARISON
“Comparing our own seemingly average existence with others’ well-edited, perfectly crafted lives as represented on social media may leave us with feelings of discouragement, envy, and even failure… As Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson reminded us.., success in life doesn’t come down to how many likes we get or how many social media friends or followers we have. It does, however, have something to do with meaningfully connecting with others and adding light to their lives.”
How many of you have ever seen a post from someone and thought something like- “ah I will never be that skinny”, “look how perfect their life is”, “how do they have so many nice things”, “man I wish I could afford to go on so many amazing trips like them, what am I doing wrong”, “they have so many cute clothes, not me”, “wow they are so popular, look how many likes they have”, BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. Seriously everyone has thought one of these or many others. It is so easy to compare our behind the scenes to everyones highlight reels. It is so dangerous. Everyone has struggles, insecurities, challenges and days where they feel like blah. No one is perfect and no life is. When we compare ourselves to others we will always find ways to come up short. I truly believe that this aspect of social media has everything to do with Satan and his plan to make us as miserable as he is.
Also…. the number of followers and likes has nothing to do with success. This is a HUGE lesson I have been learning this last year. September of 2016 I started my photography Instagram. There is nothing more terrifying than starting a business account with zero followers haha. I worked really really hard to get it going and watched as the numbers crept up little by little. My photography has immensely improved over the last year and I am confident in my abilities and skills as a photographer. None of that has to do with my number of followers. I constantly get emails and messages on Instagram from random companies or fake accounts saying how “my account NEEDS to be seen!” or “they can TRIPLE my number of followers” or “I deserve to be out there!”.. Basically promising success in my business if I can get my number of followers higher. Hold on a second…. who are they to say my business isn’t successful??!! They have no idea. Listen random IG accounts wanting me to pay them to grow my followers, I AM successful. I am shooting consistently, booking consistently and growing consistently. I am debt free. I meet and talk to new people every day. I am creating beautiful work that I am proud of. I am improving. I AM HAPPY. Do I have one billion followers on IG? Nope. Do I need to? Nope, nope, nope. The number of followers you have, or the number of likes DOES NOT = what your value is as a person or how successful you are.
“With so many appropriate and inspired uses of technology, let us use it to teach, inspire, and lift ourselves and to encourage others to become their finest — rather than to portray our idealized virtual selves. Let us also teach and demonstrate the righteous use of technology to the rising generation and warn against the associated hazards and destructive use of it. Viewing social media through the lens of the gospel can prevent it from becoming a spiritual eclipse in our lives.”
This was a really cool reminder to me and it felt really cool to write. Now I just need to go and take those photos!!!
Thanks for reading.
PROTECT YOUR RELATIONSHIPS AND PERSONAL WELL BEING FROM THE DANGERS OF TECHNOLOGY.
Light the world with technology, don’t darken it.
(Shoutout to my last minute models Thomas and Megan. Thanks for coming in clutch.)