Cameras, Concerts, and Missing the Moment

When I went to the Signature Sound/Collingsworth family concert in Shipshewana this summer (for which a review IS forthcoming, I promise), I brought a camera, as I do for every concert. Unfortunately, the Blue Gate Theater doesn’t have the greatest lighting conditions for hopeful photographers, and my view of the stage for the entire first half of the concert was dodgy and intermittent. So while I did manage against all odds to capture a few middling decent shots, I didn’t bring home a particularly spectacular crop (pun not intended).

There was one moment in particular where I really wished in hindsight I had put the camera down. On “Glory to God In the Highest,” Signature Sound had Phil Collingsworth Sr. join them for the “moves.” I thought, “Now that would be a great moment to catch on camera!” So I raised the camera in anticipation of the moment… and I couldn’t focus properly. It looked like a blur. And by the time I lowered it, the moment was gone. I had missed it. I never actually saw Phil Collingsworth dancing with Signature Sound, because I was so busy trying to pin it down and CATCH it that I lost my opportunity to simply ENJOY it.

I read a good article by Tim Challies recently that explores this very phenomenon. We live in a world of “capturing” gizmos. Everyone is always trying to record the moments around them. But really, a recorded moment isn’t going to be the same as a moment enjoyed in full when it’s actually happening. Your iphone will jiggle. Your camera will suffer from bad lighting. Color and detail will be fuzzed out. Audio will be sub-par. Yes, you’ll be able to go back and relive a recorded moment, but which is better? Having a cruddy recording of a moment you never got to enjoy properly, or having a great memory of a moment you did stop to enjoy properly?

Now of course, if nobody brought cameras to their concerts, there’d be no pictures or videos for the rest of us to enjoy (we’re thinking of you, Diana!) But I for one am thinking that I may start leaving mine home a little more often. What about you? Do you always carry a camera to every concert you attend?

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Cameras, Concerts, and Missing the Moment

  1. Diana

    Yes, I do carry my camera to every concert – or at least I try! I forgot it one time for a special out-of-town concert with Gold City and Mark Trammell Quartet and I almost cried when I realized it – and I’m not usually a cry baby! I may not always use it, but I love to have it available for pictures or video.

    I know what you mean by missing a special moment, but I’ve caught so many moments that were very precious to me that I will gladly take the chance of missing out entirely with the hopes that I will able to capture it permanently.

    • Well, that’s the other side! I’ll say this, if it’s something unusual like a special double or triple-bill for some artists you don’t normally see in one place, or a big event like a Gaither Homecoming, I’d definitely say bring the camera. But if it’s just one artist I’ve already seen before, or if I realize that my seat is so bad and the lighting is so mediocre that I won’t be able to get that many great shots, those are the times when I’m inclined to say just sit back and enjoy the show. :)

  2. Brigitte

    When we went to a Signature Sound Concert, it was the first Southern Gospel concert I had ever been to. I was more than thrilled and took a camera to remember the night. But I was focused on the camera more than the concert and now, I can’t remember the actual concert… I took so many pictures but what is funny is that the thing I remember the most is the stuff that happened when I met the guys. Doug (total sweetheart) signed a picture for me and spelled my name wrong. He tossed it out and got a new one for me and even made Devin resign it :D I think I was more cautious at the GVB concert I went to last um I think it was October… I took a camera but I think I was a lot more focused cuz I can still remember the excitement I felt when the lights were out and the beginning of “Alpha and Omega” played (one of my fav songs) I remember the floor rattling in the building… and my first ever time to see the GVB LIVE! Sometimes its a better experience if you just put the camera down… Sure I took pictures,(especially afterwards with some of my fav people David, Michael and of course, WES!!!!!) but the pictures aren’t even the parts I really remember the most. Oh and BTW, another thing that can “ruin” a concert is if you’re like me and have terrible eyesight (even with glasses) and you sit too far back and can’t see very well lol :)

  3. When EHSS or GVB make the huge trip over here to Europe, I’ll go on at least two nights. That way I can snap away at one and then sit back and enjoy the second one.

  4. Deanna Haney

    This reminds me of my granddaughter, who is a photographer and videographer. The newest thing, especially for people on vacations, is to hire someone to go along and do all the photos and videos, so you can enjoy the concert, vacation, even honeymoons (!), without the hassle of any cameras and forgotten moments. They actually pay her for this.

    • I’ve read about that, except the one I read was about giving birth! :o I can’t imagine being willing to do that. Privacy is such a lost virtue in our culture these days. I wonder just how, er, far people take the honeymoons one…

  5. John

    I attended an EHSS concert in Pennsylvania a few years ago with a still camera. As I recall I was sitting on the end of a row on a side where I wasn’t blocking anyone’s view, and I was not using flash either. However, an usher came to me who must have thought I was taking movies and he told me that I wasn’t supposed to be doing that, and I think even implied that they could be taken away from me. That’s why i have been surprised/amazed at how people so often go to these concerts and video entire songs and get away with it. Maybe the usher at the concert I attended was being over zealous; I don’t know. But it did stress to me that i needed to be extremely careful in what I did involving photography at concerts.

  6. The last concert I went to, I didn’t bring my video camera because I wanted to soak it all in. I sometimes wish I had taken videos, but the concert experience wouldn’t have been as good. Plus, I had a bad seat so they wouldn’t have turned out anyways.

  7. quartet-man

    Here is a funny camera story. I have never been a big camera person as I want to experience the moment without distraction. I enjoy the memories and would enjoy reliving certain things with said memory or media (if someone else takes them I guess ;) ).
    The funny part though is my brother once gave me his camera for me to get some pics at a J.D. Sumner and the Stamps I was going to that he wasn’t. I took several and Rick Strickland seemed to be posing for some of them (it was fun). Come to find out though, my brother didn’t have film in it. He either thought there was when there wasn’t or forgot. :)

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