Commenters have been giving me some pushback. Sssss! Fie on thee! Err, I mean, thank you!
My thought was that a photograph of something lost offers solace, comfort. Thus, having
a photograph of a thing eases the path to a future without it; after all, you will still
have the solace of the photo. This, I felt, might make it easier to do Modern/Progress
things like moving to another city.
Upon receipt of the grossly unfair, that is to say insightful, comments, I gave this more of
The trouble is that I'm not at all sure a photo does offer solace at all. Indeed, in many
cases it troubles the mind, and we might be emotionally better off without the photo.
This, of course, does not mean we might not behave as if photos offer solace anyway, we
might mistakenly believe that the photos will usefully stand in for the lost home,
the abandoned job, the departed children. We might, despite the complication that
photos actually offer, still believe in the idea that sending the children to
college is easier for having photos of them to hand.
I don't really know. That photos do offer a pre-modern "return" mechanic is, I maintain,
correct. What the effect of that is in the large though, I am uncertain.