paris petite rue au soleil

Press The Pause Button


Some where along the line, I have become fascinated with the idea of ‘capturing moments.’ Real, honest and authentic moments. I want to press the pause button and just cherish them. They are fleeting glimpses that make you want to hold them close and let them permeate into your heart so they can linger, before reality breaks the hold. They may look like plain ordinary consequences, but they are actually extraordinary glimpses into our lives.

As a photographer, finding these flashes of beauty is far from easy; it’s actually quite difficult. It involves slowing down and being extremely present and aware. The process can be painful and requires tremendous patience as we wait, listen, and hold on for the right moment. They are woven into the fabric of the mundane and stitched into the day-to-day moments. But sometimes you can stumble onto them when you least expect it.


The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

- Marcel Proust

Last year I found myself walking the small crooked medieval lanes of the Le Marais quarter in Paris with my wife. We love to go off the beaten path. Experience life the way locals do. We were enjoying ourselves when I saw it. It was somewhere amidst this labyrinth of cobblestone alleys and pre-revolutionary buildings where I was brought to a halt. There they were, a couple that appeared to be on a lunch break, sitting in an outdoor café.  Her head rested delicately on his shoulder, a slim cigarette slowly burned between the fingers of her outstretched hand on the table as he read allowed. Occasionally he stopped and to laugh and passionately talk about what he was reading. She smiled and nibbled on his ear between the drag of cigarette and sipping her Bordeaux. They were consumed with each other.

I stood there with a baguette lunch in my hand and a camera in the other wanting to photograph this moment, it was perfect, but I didn’t. Sometimes taking a photo robs us of the experience of life and we lose what the moment is telling us. What I saw in that moment was something more than the joy of lingering for hours over lunch and a bottle of red wine in a Parisian café. Or strolling alongside the Seine on a spring morning, picking through the book vendors’ wares to find the right book to read. What I saw was joie-de-vivre, a laissez-faire, and a fiery yet endearing passion and appreciation people have for life. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I long for this. Europeans seem to be a lot happier than Americans, because they enjoy life and leisure more because they have the ability to be press the pause button of life and be in the moment. It’s more than the bread, the cheese, the coffee, and the wine I can tell you; though I’m sure they do help. They are focused on seeing the magic in the mundane and the wonder in the commonplace. They know life must go on, and they will not have these moments forever.

I want to freeze life now more than ever. To stop and admire the details. To experience the subtle moments of the day. To identify and recognize the moments that have been given us. To be a bon vivant.

How can you, be in the moments that have given to you.

In a world moving way too fast, do you need focus because you fill every “spare” moment rather than taking an intermission to be present in every moment? Checkout my book Framing Faith and sign up for exclusive updates and give aways.

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award–winning visual storyteller, creative director, and author who loves telling stories of the extraordinary. Make sure you check out his book Framing Faith, it helps connect the seemingly unconnected, see the beauty right in front of us, and revealing how to be present in the moment.

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