Do You Photograph to Remember or to Forget?

An idea inspired by Cindy:

Is the purpose of photography to remember or to forget?

To remember

You make photos of moments which bring you joy, in the hidden thought that one day you will look back at those old photos, and relive those wonderful joyful moments.

To forget

I’ve once read a study that says something like:

When you photograph something, you’re less likely yp remember it because you’re “outsourcing” your memory faculty to an external device (camera). Thus there is no incentive for your mind to remember something.

And perhaps another question:

Do you photograph in order to document and preserve memories, or for something else–like art-creation?

Why I photograph

I think when I started photography, I made photos to show joy towards my life. Also, there is the socialized notion that one “must” photograph group photos of people, etc. We are taught to smile for the camera, and we are taught to pose for the camera as well.

Now, my impetus behind photography is far more pragmatic. I photograph because it is fun! It makes my daily reality far more interesting, fun, and mysterious. I treat photography as my art-form, and my primary form of artistic expression and flexing.

Does memory matter?

Kyoto, 2017

Now we get philosophical. The question:

Is memory important?

I feel memory is important for the ego, for the sense of self, and also a sense of gratitude. If I had no memory, I couldn’t function or think. If I couldn’t remember what I experienced, thought, or did in the past, I could not accumulate my thoughts and experiences in order to create. If I had no memory behind photography I couldn’t progress in my photography.

Thus this type of memory is essential. But I think it comes down to the question:

Does memory empower or depress you?

Photography as a tool of self empowerment!


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