Fading Memories

Photographs were once a treasured possession. Families proudly got photographs clicked on special occasions. First day of the child at school, every birthday, graduation ceremony, marriage, family get together… there was a photograph to celebrate each of these and many more moments. Some families owned a camera and others visited a neighborhood photographer. These were treasured memories.


(A photograph of some happy kids that I don’t want to forget about. This is from an assignment I did sometime back. More about this trip – Majuli Island)


Changing Times

Now the times have changed. There are cameras everywhere. Smart phones, tablets, computers and obviously the flood of digital cameras have given people thousands of options to choose from. Every family seems to own cameras. So far so good, but where are all those treasured memories? Photographs get created on these devices, sometimes shared across social networks and other online friends and then lost. No more treasured albums or framed photographs. This is the biggest toll that the present day photography has taken. The sheer number of photographs that everyone creates has diluted the impact of those few treasured memories of the time gone by.

Even the breed of serious photographers, both advanced amateurs and professionals, are now facing this. The treasured photographs, neatly framed and displayed are now lost to endless list of files stored in computers. Those wonderful memories are getting lost even though we feel that everything is safely stored. The word here is memories and not photographs. The files are there but how frequently are those seen? The memories are getting faded.

It is time to resurrect those memories and let photography become a part of that. Don’t let those wonderful moments die away in the way of safely stored digital files.


Preventing memories from fading away

I am facing the same crisis and recently after a discussion with an elderly gentleman I realized this. Over the last many years, I have clicked thousands of photographs, created some masterpieces and even captured some memories which I would love to remember every now and then. However, I don’t have those anywhere where I can accidentally come across them and smile a little. The elderly gentleman had a thick album, partially torn at its seam, but still holding all the precious memories of his, which he was able to share with me.

Time to take control of things! This is my plan for the days to come –

  • Sort out my digital files and reduce the junk (duplicate files or the photographs that I was planning to delete).
  • Print the ones that matter to me. No matter how good the new displays are, holding a framed photograph in hand or browsing through an album with printed photographs gives its own pleasure.
  • Frame some of these and place them where I can accidentally catch their glimpse. Some of them on the wall near the stairs, a couple of them on the office table, maybe on the bedside or on the mantelpiece.

… and no! Displaying them on the phone or computer as a wallpaper does not count. I do use this photographs as wallpapers but they don’t stir my memories as much as the printed and framed photographs do.


Hill Road

(A road-trip that I took some years back. This is another memory I would like to cherish)


Further Reading:
Old friends and photography
Nostalgic – Missing Film Cameras!

One thought on “Fading Memories

  1. I agree with you, it’s interesting that you mention how the memories in our brain are being affected by the use of digital devices, this is a topic that I have been reading about a lot in the last months. I treasure my own family photographs because it was one of the few things I was able to bring with me when I moved to another country. Those pictures have become for me a form of therapy now, I take one old picture of a happy memory and I write about it and how it made me feel. This way I force myself to remember that good moment and thus keep that memory alive! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject!


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