Shutters and Suitcases

I wrote the following while on a trip to the ‘Geothermal Wonderland’ of Rotorua with the ‘Fellowsheep’ I noticed how many pictures we were all taking of something that was not particularly engaging and started to ponder what these pictures meant and why we were taking them. All photos in this piece were taken by me using my film camera. 

We have the heavy- duty over-packers philosophy when itno limits comes to taking pictures. We click that freeze button so many times the action becomes meaningless. stuffing memories into a suitcase packed full with similar experiences just in case we ever need them for later. The suitcase has no limits so we don’t value the space.

Instead we cram every family trip, crazy weekend, delicious meal, terrible dessert, boring tour and failed selfie into the same compartment without any thought as to how to separate one from the other. We are so scared that we will forget that one time we drove twenty meters for a crappy milkshake that we just pile it all in. Better safe than sorry, right? But there is a consequence. Our society puts a price on rarity, so by taking the same photo as millions of others, we consequently make each photo worthless. Worthless 

hoardersSo why do we take them? Do we really expect ourselves to look back on the pretty seashell you saw back at that one beach four years ago and enjoy it? No, not really. We are hoarders when it comes to leaving certain memories at home. Instead we blunder forward on our travels with several hundred bags of images in tow behind us. Like dead weight they cling to us until we take the time to click that little trash can at their feet.  

And so it goes. Unlike the times of film, the photos mean nothing. Their quantity is limited only by the number of apps youPhotos Are Cheap keep or by the shaded black of the little icon on the top right if your screen. Photos are cheap. Take as many as you want, regardless of how important the memory is to you. Make it your gut-reaction to anything exciting or dull for these are the intentions designed by Apple in California. 

And there is positive. We remember everything, even that pretty little seashell we found at that one beach for years ago. We remember times we did not experience and places we forgot we visited

We Remember Everything

But our freedom has made such memories decrease in value. Has made us scared to snap should we be perceived to be the ever-dreaded tourist. But we are faced with the ever burning desire. To remember.

Pack-Rat Tendencies

We must remember, or what was the point of being there at all? So we trudge on with our bags of memories and frets over gigabytes. We trudge on with our pack-rat tendencies tugging at our worn out shoulders. And readjusting as we go, we turn to click that shutter so we don’t forget this moment.  


3 thoughts on “Shutters and Suitcases

  1. Well done! This is powerful stuff. Without introspection on this topic and action, we can truly become little mindless robots and pixel hoarders, rather than real world engagers and documentarians or artists. I think it’s interesting how you paired a piece on digital photography with film camera images; do you think using film cameras makes a difference in that mental engagement?

    • Thank you! I am so happy you liked it!

      The reason why I chose to use film to illustrate this piece is because of the value placed in each photo in a roll. With film we have a limited amount of images that we are allowed to take. Each photo becomes a big deal and we only snap when we believe the moments merits our using up a roll. For me that means that I only save a moment that I am in love with. The other ones I use my iPhone to capture 🙂

      This is a relatively new process for me and have recently made it a goal of mine to finish a roll of film on the first day, all of the WeXplores and the last day of each country.

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