Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Etched in time.
I love watching people, and today a group of students caught my attention. They were giggling while taking pictures of themselves - clicking and then poring over the captured photo and then posing again to take some more.
Taking pictures is something we all love doing. This is especially true for Boysie, who seemed to have made photography his life’s passion. I also love the way Amy made a collage of old photographs in her coffee table - an instant conversation piece while she and friends sit down for coffee. Even Leanne’s picture of her Cover Girl certificate brought back fond memories, and Sid's old photographs tell a lot of his life story.
Cameras are fun and I give kudos to whoever invented these little devices. Imagine creating something that captures a moment in time and allows people to re-live that memory forever?
But ironically, the essence of taking a picture seemed to lose its magic as we are given the capacity to take more pictures. And when we don’t like what we have captured earlier, we can easily delete it. But when we like it, we pose for another shot as if we can travel through time. Some people even take a series of their own pictures, in the same or slightly different pose as if they can’t get enough of themselves. If a picture was worth a thousand words once, now it is worth a few megabytes of electronic data ready to be discarded when no longer needed.
Cameras were invented because people want to relive the past captured by one brief moment in time. However, modern technology now allows us to capture more than just a single moment. We snap photos mindlessly, totally forgetting that they used to be special. We have forgotten what the inventor of the camera wanted it to do, which was to enable people to breathe life into their memories.
When we take pictures, we should make it a point to capture something that glistens with emotion. When we take a picture of a man and his dog or a beautiful sunset, we tell ourselves to be mindful that the memory being captured cannot be repeated and no one can alter the fact that it happened. Time waits for no one. The emotions you felt while playing with your pet, getting an award, or being with classmates during class reunions, you can only burn in your memory — and pictures help bring forth old feelings. But we cannot reenact exactly what happened in the past, and so we cannot experience truly the same emotion twice.
I even told some friends that if my house will be on fire, the first thing I am going to save are my photo albums. Those that will remind me of my kids first haircut, their first steps, the growing up years, special moments, my travels, etc. Yes, those that will bring delicious recollection, the kind I would love to come back to in my twilight years, when I am in need of comfort and cheers.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much are you willing to pay to relive a memory?