Photographs and Memories

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Mark Z, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Billy Joel said he always keeps a pen and pad bedside and many of his songs come from dreams.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  2. Photos transform.
  3. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Hmm... my photo of some
    tasty termites transformed
    into a photo of some tasty
  4. Very nicely stated. Surely most of the great stories, novels and poetry from throughout history have come from memories that were appropriately distorted, modified and blended. Your story about the "photo not taken" is poignant.

    For a much less profound example and commentary on the present day I can only chuckle to myself when at a big tourist attraction and I see a tour bus pulls up and I watch folks coming out the bus door with their cell phones held high, looking at the attraction on their cell phone screen rather than the real thing, walking around with phone held high almost continuously before returning to the bus. Yes these folks will have precise depictions of where they were on a given day and where they pointed their phone but what 'memories' will they actually have?
  5. brunch?
  6. I don’t recall any event where a photo I took detracted from my experience.
    I’ve never been that obsessed with the photos I took during an activity that was the reason for being there.
    There are other times when I think more about the images, but those are occasions taken for the photography itself.
    Otherwise the camera is secondary.
    It’s interesting that now that I think of it, most of the times I have a camera out, no one else around me does..
    But I’ve always avoided crowds.
  7. How do you steer a 20 year old photo?
  8. "case that it’s not the picture that serves and evokes the memory but that it’s the memory that serves and invokes the picture." moving on.

    They, photos, don’t record feelings.

    They trigger unique memories associated with the image and the brain does the rest.

    Thought I was clear on that ..Moving on.

    You look at a picture and it invokes a memory.
  9. I'd go with "filtered memories."

    Whatever memories photos invoke, they also invoke my current PERSPECTIVE on the past. I look at the picture of myself below, get nostalgic, remember being out on my deck in 1975 in college the day after a graduation party at the house, remember my four roommates and a bunch of friends. But I also see a YOUNG me. I didn't think of myself as the young me at the time, just me. Now I see smoother skin, a thick head of hair, naivete, a son whose mom and dad were still alive, the guy of 21 who hadn't yet moved west. I see DIFFERENCE. I'm not seeing who I was at the time as much as I'm seeing WHAT I SEE NOW of who I was at the time. Part of me can close my eyes and feel some of what it was like. But I also look at yesterday with eyes wide open, seeing it through today.

    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  10. You look at a picture and it invokes a memory....those little snapshots...a nothingness at the a immortal being.
  11. Damn Fred.
    That’s pretty good.

    That’s very good.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  12. Moving on has moved on.

    All for the better.
  13. To confirm and appreciate the unique connection, all one need do is imagine looking at all of their personal photos through an eye with no memory attached to the back of it.....
  14. "to confirm and appreciate the unique connection, all one need do is imagine looking at all of their personal photos through an eye with no memory attached to the back of it..... "Moving on.

    But, a fantasy in the real world, Personal photos are all about memory...that is what they are about..

    In a sense sacred texts from loved ones.

    You made two perceptive posts on the street forum recently. Thanks for those insights.
  15. Blind Pigs and their acorns.....
    For me at least, most of this stuff is simply stumbled upon, or prompted by thinking about someone else’s post.

    Little fish from The River of Dreams......

    (Guess I’m on a Billy Joel kick lately.....)

    That video is a scrapbook of my life.....
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  16. Photographing last August's eclipse was a technically very demanding exercise. At the moment of totality, in the midst of removing filters and re-setting exposure values, I had to remind myself to stop and just soak up a bit of the experience. Given only about two minutes of totality I could only spare a few seconds. But what memories are encapsulated in the few seconds! And memorialized in the images I made! Every time I walk through my front hall the large print of the corona streaming out from behind the moon takes me back to the wonder of those few seconds. This is what my photography is about, for me at least. What others make of it is less important. However, if my photos tickle some small piece of my own sense of places, people, and events in others, then I am happy with the result.
    movingfinger and Moving On like this.
  17. If I had primarily spent my time looking at still photos or even taking photos of my dad or anyone else I cared about, I wouldn't have as much a memory of them today as well. But I relied on other senses such as smell, sound, touch, listening to speech patterns, behaviors, etc. to form lasting memories. I didn't take a lot of photos of my dad either but that doesn't prove it would affect my memory of him. I have lots of pictures I took of my ex-wife when we were married at the time and I still remember her vividly.

    I don't buy this "photo taking impairment effect" mentioned in the OP. Considering whats been understood in the past about father/daughter relationships Sally Mann may have other extenuating issues that have caused her to lack memories of her father that has nothing to do with photography. It could be her father was pretty boring and maybe not as engaging as much as Cy Twombly. Don't blame a lack of memory of a person on account of taking too many pictures of one over another.

    I mean there's just way too many possible life experience variables, cognitive and health issues that can contribute to lack of memory of someone making it impossible to prove this effect.
  18. It could also be that different people experience this differently, and while that 'impairment effect' does not exist for you, or Sally Mann, it may exist for others. None of this is an on/off thing, really, but varying degrees of how we experience moments, and how we experience memories. Our senses and priority of senses differ (some people vividly remember smells and fagrances, others remember the tiniest sounds), so in my view, there is no reason to say that a 'photo taking impairment effect' cannot exist - in fact, pretty sure it does for me. When I raise a camera in front of my eye, a good part of my focus shifts to making the photo to the best of my capabilities, and hence reduces the focus I have for that very moment. And I notice that gap later when reviewing the photos, or remembering the moments.

    I have a good series of photos of a family weekend, which turned out to be the last time I saw my father alive. The best memory I have of that weekend, I have no photo of it, and the photos I do have don't move me much (yet) because there are better memories (moments where my focus was on enjoying that moment) than what those photos have captured. Maybe, in time when things are further away, I'll revalue the photos. But as it stands today, I'm taking into account that I do suffer some memory impairment when taking photos. YMMV.

    I think this is a very important point. Memories of today are tainted by today - what we've become, how we've become it, and a relative importance we give to certain periods and events today. The most important memory of 10 years ago may become a footnote in the future - there is a near constant movement.
  19. I think you just supported my point about all the variables involved that can't be accounted for by science (using the scientific method under a blind A/B comparison testing environment) to support that this is a real effect.

    Anecdotes aren't science. It's too big a target to measure accurately anyway in order to establish a consistent method for diagnosis.
  20. I wonder how photo line ups used to jog the memory of victims identifying their perpetrator plays into this? There's been way too many accounts of victims relying on their memory of the perp's facial features that are soon forgotten or mis-remembered that sends an innocent person to prison from relying on their mug shot.

    Maybe the victim should take up photography so they can soon forget the trauma they suffered under only they'll have to take a bunch of shots of the perp to induce this photo-taking impairment effect.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018

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