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April 2019

Photos inspire me. Just don't ask me to take a picture.



I don’t take photos. I’m not saying I won’t be in a photo; in fact, I loved working with Becky Thurner Braddock, who took my picture that you see each month, and I will jump into any shot when asked. 

But I don’t take photos. 

When I was growing up I had a variety of different cameras — from Kodak to Pentax — and I enjoyed my fling with each of them. It was exciting at first, but eventually the joy wore off and taking pictures started to seem like a chore. 

I thought perhaps my problem was the delayed gratification of waiting for photos to be developed. So, I took a photography class and learned how to do that myself, but still I had to wait. Polaroid seemed the answer, but that meant I had to cart around all those photos. (Are you supposed to put them in your pocket?)

Then along came digital cameras, soon to be followed by cameras on your mobile phone. All my excuses were gone. It was convenient and I could take thousands of photos and see them right away. And I did — at first. But soon I was overwhelmed by folders full of photos.

So, I have come to face the fact that I don’t like taking photos.

I don’t know if there are other people like me who want to enjoy a meal without photographing it. Who like being with friends and family without posing everyone for a picture. Who go on vacation and come back with memories and mementoes but few, if any, photos. Even when a vacation has inspired me to take my fair share of pictures, such as my trip to Istanbul or visit to the Grand Canyon, I find that the photos pale in comparison to the way I remember it. 

Someone asked me if I was on Instagram and I almost laughed. That’s like asking me if I will be participating in the X Games.

While I don’t like taking photos, I actually do like looking at them. (Not everyone who likes to eat likes to cook). Photos inspire me. When I see a photo of a place I haven’t been, it makes me want to go there to experience it myself. So I intend to explore the spots that Art Director Chuck Beard photographed for our cover feature on Scenic Day Trips. 

Just don’t expect any photos from me.

Brian Hyslop can be reached at ​bhyslop@pittsburghmagazine.com or 412/304-0921.

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