I have always enjoyed looking at those old albums which my parents have taken care of since so long. With cheesy covers, huge spiral binds the weight that could help in someone’s workout, photographs with these flower pattern border around them. But all of this doesn’t matter. They would always have this huge smile while going through these pictures. They would tell me and my brother “look, this is the time when we got our first vehicle”, “this is the picture of our first trip after marriage” and so on. No matter how many times we’ve gone through this album, this ecstasy is always constant.
What major difference that I have found in their way and our way of reliving a moment is the medium via which we go through them. Facebook or Google photos will show me what I was up to last year, 4 years back, and even 8 years back. I would simply go through them and if I find something funny or heart-warming to share, I would just click on that share button. Simple right? Why go through the hassle of storing these heavy old albums? But the thing is, I don’t feel the same contentment. Going through the hard copies, laughing together at an embarrassing picture of mine is just so satisfying.
I was wondering why is that? One day I was cleaning the house and getting rid of some old stuff that wasn’t in use anymore. In the trash, I saw this Sony camera, with broken flash and an empty slot for a reel. Then it hit me. These reels were really expensive, and people who used them were very careful not to waste them. They would try to capture a moment. They did not get a second chance and were not able to see if the picture was alright as there was no screen. They would simply capture a memory and then move on. That’s why each photograph is so special. Each of them has a story to tell.
Compared to now, even one strand of hair misplaced can be a nightmare. Now that we have these unlimited chances to take a picture and some online friends to impress. We really go for it. Taking hundreds of pictures for an event as simple as going to the washroom. We’ll then choose the perfect one, apply a cool filter, then upload it with a caption from Google which is not related to the picture. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a technology hater. But get this, in the future our “good photographs” with unrelated captions will not be our memories. A picture with your friends laughing, holding you up in the air after you get your first job will be your memory.
What is a photograph? It is just a collection of pixels that store different colors to present us a moment. Personally for me, if the picture isn’t telling a story, it is not worth keeping. Capture people in their happy times, capture them when they achieve something, capture your friends and family, capture places that hold a special memory. So if you see a Facebook memory in the future, it brings back the same emotions you felt at the time taking that picture. Make sure, in the end, you have a memory, not just a good photograph.