Prague is one of the most photogenic cities in the world. The parallel lines created by the buildings and perfect symmetry created by the spires and shapes of the city make a place that is every photographer's dream.
It is so easy to walk around the city and stop on every corner or every block and take a picture. It wasn’t until late on the second day I was here that I realized how much I was missing because of my camera.
Yes, creating a perfect composition to post on Instagram made me appreciate the beauty of the town, but a camera lens only shows you a portion of your surroundings.
For example, at the intersection of Na Zborenci and Odboru in Prague's New Town hangs multiple sculptures of people hanging high above with umbrellas opened above them. It wasn’t until the third time I walked down this street that I realized they were there.
On the second day, our professor set up a walking tour for our class of film students, there was a sculpture of a man hanging from a pole high above our heads. We were later informed that this sculpture is of Sigmund Freud. Only one of us noticed it was there. The rest of the group was focused on the architecture slowly engulfing us in Old Town Prague.
It is so easy to get caught up in your camera lens, following the lines of the city, finding the best angle and composing a picture with the perfect vanishing point. The tunnel vision can take over and makes it easy to forget to look around, or up, in this case.
You will miss the most important moments or the strangest visuals by limiting your perspective.
There have been moments of this trip that I have willingly decided to leave my phone and camera at home, forcing me to take a step back and see the full picture of this beautiful city.
Those moments, the moments when I was completely present and genuinely taking in my surroundings, are some of my favorite moments on this trip so far.
As we climbed the steps of the Prague Castle, my phone remained tucked into my backpack. Not a single photo documents that I was there, yet I remember every detail of what I saw. Of course, someday the memory of the details will fade, but I will always remember the experience of getting lost in the castle walls and the feeling of the hug our professor embraced us all in when we finally found our way out. I will remember the feeling when I first looked over the edge and saw the entire city of Prague as the sun set behind the buildings.
I will never regret stepping back and being in the moment. The world is a more beautiful place if you step away from your camera lens and see it through your own eyes.
Gentry Keener is a junior studying journalism and political science.