What comes first, the picture of the memory? Or do they, as if twins arrive at roughly the same time? Me first! Me First? Each is saying as the pecking order is established. But, as we consider the image, do we create the new memory? Or did the memory imprint with the original sight our eyes creating an internal memory picture that cannot be printed? What was the moment that caused you to reach for your phone or your camera? Did you set out with the intent of capturing the moment or did the moment capture you? Some people prepare, they carry their camera everywhere or their phone everywhere. I may see something today that I want to capture. But do we capture to remember?
What if at that moment we captured. What happens to it when we’ve forgotten the picture? Stuffed in a box with a thousand other pictures we’ve forgotten. Does the memory fade? Or is it in the silver of the image itself? As if the photograph preserves the memory as a part of the process itself? A complex chemical reaction as we touch the picture and the mixture of silver and old decaying finger oils results in a triggered response? They say smell carries memories do the pictures as well? Then one has to wonder does finger oil have, produce, contain, store or in some way convey memories? Why then, if that is the case doesn’t the handshake of the first meeting, instantly create memories of things that once were, even though only one person was there.
You can’t hand a photo to someone and in them not having been at the moment, look at you and the memory convened “I remember that now.” Each picture has a meaning to the people that were there. In telling, sharing and paying that story forward, we enter the realm of the family history project. The reality of stories is that they dream to be released for their contextual prison. They seek more than the company of neurons and free reign of the cerebellum. No these memories are best when freed of that prison of the mind. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian writer, once said you could imprison my body, but you cannot take away what is in my mind. What I can do is slowly steal the memories. With each picture stuffed in a box and forgotten. Share those memories, because they can be lost forever if they are locked in the prison of the mind.
in the future I am not handing my wife the camera, ever. Or my daughter for that matter.