Morris Villarroel is a professor of animal physiology in Madrid, Spain. He is also a life-logger. For the past six years, he has recorded the minutia of his day-to-day life. He uses paper, camera, video and a fitness tracker to meticulously record his life. Everything from what time he wakes up, to what clothes he wears, to whether he ate one piece of bread or two for breakfast is recorded.
He said it all began in 2010 when he turned 40. “I was looking back on my life and wondering what did I have to show? I wanted for the next 40 years to have a greater sense of what I had actually done during those years.”
Over the past 6 years he has taken over a million photographs. Over the past year alone, Morris has taken 1,200 photos a day and filled up a total of 37 logbooks recording everything. He wears a camera that automatically takes one photo every 30 seconds. He says his wife and kids are supportive of his strange habit, but he does take his camera off during private moments.
Wearable cameras, like the one Morris uses, automatically take photos twice a minute. As you can imagine, users often end up taking lots of meaningless photos like the steering wheel of their car. One researcher is working on a unique twist for a life-logging camera. It will be a wearable camera that is connected to a heart rate monitor. Instead of random photos every 30 seconds, it will only take photos when the person’s heart rate rises.
While wearable life-logging cameras may never become mainstream, these days almost everyone has a camera in their phone and the compulsion to record our lives is strong. At live concerts and tourist attractions, a sea of hands holding cell phones over their heads is a common sight. Seeing sunsets and other moments of natural beauty also trigger the desire to preserve the moment. And of course, birthdays, weddings and kids sporting events bring out the amateur photographer in most people. These days even taking pictures of food and posting them on social media has become trendy.
Of course, not all photography is unhealthy. And wanting to have photos to help us remember the past isn’t always a bad thing, but it can get out of hand. The desire to capture the moment can sometimes cause us to miss the moment. What do you think? Is recording our lives causing us to miss out on living our lives?