Conscious Photography: The Joy Of Missing Out (JOMO)

Toward the end of the movie 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty', Ben Stiller’s character finally meets Sean, the photographer he’d been tracking down. They sit on a slope somewhere in the Himalayas, where Sean hopes to photograph the elusive snow leopard. He eventually spots the beast on the adjacent ridge; it looks at him, he stares back at it. When Walter asks him when he’s going to take the picture, Sean simply says: “Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, I mean me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”


"Mount Brewster" by Peter Laurenson (Occasionalclimber)

"Mount Brewster (right) and Top Heavy (left), with Brewster Glacier between. The summit of Mount Armstrong is in the foreground. Southern Alps, New Zealand. For me this sums up my personal quest for happiness - being in the mountains, away from the clutter and frustrations of city life, striving for a goal, being immersed in the moment."



What he was referring to, even if unwittingly, is nowadays known as JOMO, or the Joy Of Missing Out. The expression, coined by entrepreneur Anil Dash, translates to “enjoying the moment without worrying about what others are doing” and represents the opposite of the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).


Though these acronyms can’t claim to be a 21st century invention, the birth of social media has exacerbated these feelings to the point of making them poignant and ubiquitous enough to become a sociological phenomenon. In an era when so much is dictated by productivity, where happiness is often synonym to output, JOMO comes as an organic response to the narrow frame of mind such as what the anxious, FOMO-induced modus operandi promotes.


In photography, FOMO is unavoidable: we all strive for the “perfect picture” thus it is easy to overlook the very life that composes it. Yet, most passionate photographers will agree that the act of framing a scene and pressing the shutter doesn’t entail to possessing a moment – but perpetuating the beauty and joy behind it. It is like Sean said: “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”


"A Mindful Hike" by Maria Ligaya Photography


"The recommended time to complete the hike to Roy's Peak is 5 to 7 hours. However, they said it depends on your pace and experience, some can do it half of the day & some allow the whole day. But there's no judgment here, you can do it at a pace that is comfortable for you: Don't worry because Mother Nature won't judge.⁣ ⁣ It is a steady 1300 meter climb to the top, steep in some places, with very few flat or downhill sections. The higher you go the better the views get. Along the track there are great views, you can stop anytime and take it all in (just be aware of the time as it gets colder, especially in winter, later in the afternoon as the sun sets earlier), otherwise, take your time, there is no shame in stopping, after all, the hike is not a competition.⁣ ⁣ I go for a hike for "meditation" - when you add a little extra awareness to the experience, your hike can benefit both your body and your mind.⁣ ⁣ I enjoy great conversations and laughter with my partner while hiking, we also stop and consciously engaging our senses on where we are and on what we are doing. We easily get lost in our thoughts and daydreams and that is okay, but we direct our thoughts back to our breathing. ⁣ ⁣ We bring our awareness to our every step, how every foot makes contact with the ground. How the cold air touches our skin, it rouses us to wakefulness, an alertness that lets us savor the moments. ⁣ ⁣ The smell that we pick up as we move, the smell of the trees, & the forest.⁣ ⁣ The sound of wind, the river and, birds, that becomes the lyrics in our soul in sweet vibrations.⁣ ⁣ The sight of the mighty Alps, whose white & shining pyramids and domes towered above all, as belonging to another earth, the habitations of another race of beings.⁣ ⁣ So it's okay, take time, no rush. No deadline, no award, and no prize for the best hiker. The reward you can get for yourself are the views and the lessons you learned along the way, that's for sure...⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Happy Hiking!⁣"



Here are a few ways you can foster JOMO during your next photo shoot:


  • Pretend you are shooting film – don’t just fire away, consider your shot before taking it.

  • Before and after capturing a scene, watch it for a few minutes and ask yourself “What else is there?” or “What attracts me to it?”

  • Pay heed to the light: even the most mundane and insipid scene can come to life under its compatible light.


"Mystical Sunrise" by Parmeet Sahni


“There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them.” ― Jo Walton"

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