Memories today vs. the past

Memories are different in 2016

Do any of you ever think of your own past experiences (memories) anymore?

Or do you just rely on photos on your smartphone or your social media timeline?

Why do I ask?

Because I saw something that inspired me to post this the other day. A friend had an “old fashioned” photo collage on their bathroom wall. About a dozen small photos of various points in their life. Nothing too crazy or specific. Just an artsy lineup of pictures from about two decades ago.

Today, personal imagery is overwhelming!

Think about how before this non-stop, “instant” world we live in was. We took a few pics, saved the good ones, and made an album. Some made the picture frame even. We shared them in person – not remotely. Not everyone owned a camera. And those that did – didn’t bring the camera everywhere with them. Reserved for out-of-the-ordinary moments – because film cost money to develop and print.

What about before technology like photography?

People DREW their visions – or better yet – painted a “visual picture” via descriptive words in their journals or other writing instruments. It was awesome and mind-strengthening.

Word trumps image – until images are needed to sell something!

The power of the written word – as well as the willingness (and capability) of the reader to allow themselves into the author’s mind – is a dying art.

Hardly anyone I know anymore has the ability to become enveloped by the written word anymore. Why? Because their attention span is non-existent – and the superficial image is enough.

memories and omnipresent photography

Pros and cons of omnipresent photography

With 99% of the population having an adequate quality camera on hand at all times – it’s something that is here to stay (unless the power grid goes out).

So we probably should point out some of the positives:

  • “Atrocities” or wrongful acts can be documented as proof. Police violence. Citizen crimes. Even “old school” security cameras can catch drunk vandals in Hoboken.
  • Things like “dash cams” can also protect those who were wronged – and as a bonus can capture rare events like meteorites crashing through the sky.
  • Extreme weather like tornados or flash floods – for historical purposes.

Many other things that may be viewed as positive (like catching a funny scene or beautiful sunset) – but have no real impact on humanity.

But the negatives are not as clear to understand – because they have a more subtle and long-term effect on all of us. Such as:

Social Inundation. With people in your “timeline” now snapping pics and posting photos of their most everyday life events like “getting a coffee at Starbucks,” or “Wow, I’m near the Hudson River!” Can wear on your mind. Do you really need to know every detail and clogging your brain with those images? Many even become depressed if others appear to be living a more exciting life than them.

Time wasted. Another drawback to the constant flow of imagery is the time wasted that could otherwise be used for something productive in YOUR life.

Lost experiences. People will justify their incessant need to photo-document every moment in their lives. And might even say “well, because I can!” Even if you just snap a few photos – your whole mindset is altered. Because you’ll likely feel uneasy if your phone is dead or left at home – thus diminishing the actual experience you’re living. Why be reliant on that digital image? (We leave our phone home now on a regular basis – and it’s liberating).

Here’s an interesting topic on the human memory – and why it’s flawed. Is the massive database of photos you have good or bad? Unnatural or just an aspect of “evolution?”

memories and photography food for thought hoboken NJ

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