This morning's brief riff is about the priceless nature of personal photographs. In particular, I'd like to pay homage images which serve as keys to the most beautiful moments of our lives. You can chock the motivation for this post up to effusive sentimentality and the toll of time, eroding my once sharp memory1.
How can an image transcend the totality of its discrete data? When it is a key of course, which unlocks memories of people, places and times long past. Our memories are apt to fade with a continuous conscious focus on the future, it is a natural cleansing of our experience buffer.
And yet when we glimpse at situations and smiles long gone through captured imagery, it reminds us of who we were in another time, and how we became the person we are today. Each image is a snapshot of a seamless story from past to present.
This morning I scanned through a scattered collection on flickr photos that would have little value or meaning to anyone but the people who were in the images, and to myself. Each picture was a reinforcement of fragile memories. I had forgotten in what year a few of the pictures were taken, but could remember the feelings I had at the time they were taken. That get's to the heart of the power of image keys, they release emotional memories which transcend chronology.
- Perhaps my memory was never sharp. Such is the price of a fading memory, you never quite remember who it is that you used to be.