I’d say that pictures fall into the category of timeless. I can’t foresee their significance or prominence dwindling – at least not in the near future. With the current hype of Snapchat and the convenience of smartphone cameras, it has become second nature to snap a quick picture of moments and things we want to remember.
Pictures help us remember in both a static and dynamic sense.
Part of the novelty of a picture is that once glance can bring us back. It triggers a recall effect. All of a sudden, the experience, the moment, the people, the feelings all come rushing back. Often, it isn’t until the picture is seen that the memory can be recalled.
And you’ll never be the person you were in that picture again.
I argue that pictures capture who we were, who we are, and who we are trying to be all at the same time.
In the future, pictures can bring back the moment. In the present, pictures can keep us in the moment and give future weight to the right here, right now. These pictures can also project the future, especially in the context of social media.
We’re always trying to create ourselves, and social media and what we put there, especially pictures, are the curated versions of us. This is the most perfect version of who we are to ever exist, and I have this theory that who we shape ourselves to be on social media is how we truly want to be. We’re always working towards being that person. So I think in many ways, pictures serve as benchmarks toward our ideal selves, too.
For me, I try to strike a balance between enjoying the moment and remembering it. I’ll pose with loved ones and flash a quick grin to a camera – as a way to stick a flag on the moment and say this is it, this happened – but then move on with the experience. I don’t want the moment to ever be lost because I was too busy making sure I have tangible proof that it happened. I think truly being there is enough.
It’s always enough.