Possessing an always-connected, socially-integrated smartphone triggers any number of life changing behaviours, attitudes and potential, including the rather significant fact that most people now carry cameras in their pockets at all times (and aren’t afraid to use them).
Social networks have changed many people’s behavioural patterns such that for many, it is now the norm to take and share photos of the activities around you, selfies, of your dinner, or of your coffee… especially coffee :).
The best camera is the one you have with you
As the number of photos we take increases, a growing problem can be that it’s easy for the individual value of some of those photographs to get lost in the mass of images. I’ll be talking more about our home photography workflow tomorrow, but we’ve seen a noticeable hike in the number of photos taken, even over just the last 4 years (that’s with 4 of us enjoying taking photos)
2013 : 17,800 items
2014 : 27,750 items
2015 : 40,300 items
2016 : 43,800 items (it’s mid-November)
Each month I sort through this large, and growing, amount of recorded content, to form a meaningful collection of beautiful images, important events, and key moments in our family life. (ideally I do this each week, to prevent it getting out of hand).
The more I do this, the more that as a family we enjoy and value going through those collections at a later date - and we routinely find that we had forgotten so many of the great memories of the last year, month or even week. Now that it has become a concrete part of my monthly routine, I consider the investment of time and attention in sorting through hundreds and thousands of photos and videos, to potentially be one of the more significant activities I undertake.
Curation - is an act of love
I wonder how many of our memories are based solely on our accurate recall of that moment or event. Or how many were enhanced, or even created by seeing the photos at a later date, or perhaps repeatedly seeing photos of given moments in online albums, or in the picture frames on the walls and mantlepieces in the houses of your family members and friends?
I wonder if potentially, the photos we choose to place in an album or picture frame, or share online on flickr, or Facebook, actually have a significant influence on our memory of those moments and events, and hence our perception of our own history, and potentially therefore our sense of self-identity?
Maybe in curating photographs, we are curating our own identity, both for ourselves and our family and friends.
Another power of photos, is in bringing people together, in sharing moments, in strengthening memories and ties. So perhaps these curated photos form the basis of our shared memories with our friends and loved ones, and so not only form a basis of our individual memory and perspective and potentially self-identity, but also the basis of some aspects of our family heritage, friendship legacy, our even for our communities and on a bigger scale, our national identities, strengthening the ties between us.
Just looking at these photos from over 4 years ago, someone makes it feel like it was just last week, and seems to reinforce the memory.
As well as the monthly curation, I recently talked about my weekly routine of ‘Reflecting on the Weekend’ which creates a snapshop of the weekend just passed, which I think helps strengthen my recall, and our family ties on a regular basis.