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 it 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.
So 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 you 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.
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.
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.