Sometimes, without effort, you live in the moment. You don’t regret the past or worry about the future, and in that moment, everything flashes before your eyes and everything pauses. Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.
It’s easy to tell the difference between a snapshot and a photograph, but it’s not always so easy to pinpoint what qualities make a picture one or the other. Really, though, the difference boils down to a single word: carelessness. Snapshots are just that: shots you snap. When you take a snapshot, you don’t give any thought to what you are doing. You pick up your camera or phone, you point it at something, and you snap the photo. What you get in return is a document that tells you what happened the moment you clicked that button.
I became deeply interested in photography in the late 1980s. I have always been a struggling actor and writer, so collecting important photographs was always been out of my range. Yet, I have amassed an impressive collection of informal snapshots, mostly with a LGBTQ interest, from the 20th century, found at thrift shops and yard sales.
Snapshots are usually technically imperfect, amateurish, out of focus or poorly framed or composed. The subjects are everyday life: parties and celebrations, sunsets, kids, group photos, boyfriends and girlfriends, pets, tourist attractions, and celebrity sightings
The reclusive, shy, writer Eudora Welty said:
A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.