I’m researching photography, thinking about purchasing a camera and wondering which would best suit my needs. The nicest camera I’ve ever owned was stolen a couple of years ago – from the church building during Vacation Bible School, go figure – and I’ve been an iPhone photog since.

It’s appealed to me, actually. It’s been fun, seeing what I can do within the limitations of the technology. But lately I’ve been missing the quality of the real thing. 

So I’m researching.

DSLR, mirrorless, Sony, Nikon, Canon … the choices (and the price variations) are endless, as are the opinions.

I’m noticing something, though. There’s a phrase I keep coming across, in the comments sections of the photographers I’ve been following on instagram and whose pages I’ve been liking on Facebook. A simple, two-word compliment.

Nice capture.

And language-geek over-thinker that I am, these words have captivated me.

Nice capture.

Nice photograph … of course that’s the simple meaning, but really, couldn’t it mean so much more?

Because what is being captured, really? A moment in time? A feeling? A bit of present transformed immediately into history? Documentation? The artist’s personality? The subject’s personality?

And the word itself. Capture. It’s a possessive word, a taking word. A predatory word.

And what is a prized capture without the display? The editing, mounting, framing, sharing. If a photograph is captured but not shared, it is still valuable? The whole tree falling in the forest conundrum, visually.

Here’s the point I’m meandering toward, as I’m reflecting on these things in light of the Advent season. As I’m considering the need to capture and artistically present everything, all the time.

Truthfully, I’m as caught up in it as anyone else. I mourn an experience that happens without my snapping a photo of it. It feels less to me if I haven’t photographically documented it. And I’m not quite sure what to make of that.

Maybe it doesn’t matter, although sometimes it’s hard to see past all the visual sharing. To cut through the creative editing and the presentation to what is simple and true, if I choose to believe it. To the words …

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary who was pledged to be married to him, and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And while a photograph of this would be so so so lovely to see, the words are enough. Simple and stark and unembellished, and the rest is left to me to wonder at and imagine and find meaning in.

Nice capture, indeed.