Thursday, January 21, 2016

Event Photos

Here's some food for thought (that means, I don't think I have any thesis or conclusion).

There was a thing in "Vogue" (possibly just online) recently about things brides ought to do these days. One of the things on the list was that brides should not hire a professional photographer, but simply gather up photos shot by their guests.

Predictably this has all the people who pretend to be professional photographers on the internet up in arms. They see their imaginary income being threatened by some blogger who's writing a pretty ordinary "I will just say the opposite of a bunch of stuff" post, and they decide to rant and rave a bit.

Here's the thing worth thinking about: If photographs destroy memory, perhaps no photography at all is the correct answer for genuinely important moments in your life.

You trade crisp, unchanging, 2 dimensional pictures which will tend to get fixed in your mind as The Memory of The Day in. What you get in return is a much more organic, malleable, but 3 dimensional and multi-sensory memory. You'll remember what people said, you'll remember how the music sounded and what dinner tasted like.

As time passes you will increasingly remember it differently from how it really happened, but maybe that's OK.


  1. interesting! I find that, if I want to keep anything at all of any memory, I HAVE to have some photos and even more I HAVE to write about a treasured experience to anchor my memory-process - and that involves me then repeatedly -and enjoyably - running mental fingers over the photos and the writing and streeetching for all of (as much of) the other stuff to keep the "more total" experience filled in - otherwise it all - everything - fades away except for, at best, if I am lucky, an almost literally historical footnote attached to a date… I think different people process and retain memory differently though..

  2. I generally put down my camera when I engage with my wife and son. The moments themselves are too important to me to introduce a filter and a distraction.

  3. Your post reminded me of something I haven't thought of in 30 years: in the late 70's I was in the Army, posted in Tehran. The warrant officer who ran our communications center had traveled all over the world in 20+ years of service. When I commented that he must have a huge collection of photographs, he just tapped his forehead and said, "All my pictures are up here. I don't need any film to remember the important stuff." He was a smart man....