I was having trouble sleeping one night as my mind kept wandering to a dark place. I was feeling very sad and wanted to fall asleep with pleasant dreams and put a stop to the negative thoughts and feelings. I decided that I was going to create some happy images in my mind to focus on. I thought that I would start with images of baby elephants that I had recently watched on a nature show. I remembered how delightful the footage was to me so I tried to put the pictures in my mind. As much as I enjoyed the program, I could not lock in one clear image of the baby elephants. The images came out blurry and even cartoonish. I could not even remember one frame in enough detail to use it to engulf myself. I moved on to baby Polar bears and I did have one picture that was a little clear, however it was just the picture from the cover of the movie and I could not remember anything else in any detail. Frustrated, I decided to find a real moment instead of something I had seen on a screen and my mind went right to the bank of a fast moving creek I had sat on one month before in Colorado when I was feeling wonderful. The first image that popped up was that of a photograph I had taken while sitting on that bank. I did not want to think about a picture so I put myself in the moment and suddenly I could hear the sound of the water rushing by me and the feeling of peace that I had while I sat by the stream that day. I could feel how cold the air was and how the hard ground felt on my bum. I could look around me and see my surroundings using my memory plus a little imagination to create the perfect image for myself to focus on, and yes, to fall asleep to.
Pictures vs. Memories of Pictures
The image that I was re-creating in my mind came from a moment that was very special to me. I took in as much information as I could while I was there and I also took a picture. Anytime I look at the picture it brings me right back to the ranch in Colorado and I get to experience that moment again with my favorite senses included. I do not need the details of the photo to bring back any memories. The picture is a reminder of the memory as well as something beautiful to share.
Pictures are wonderful. Chances are if your house is on fire, besides your family and your pets, your photo albums will be the first things you grab (unless you store your photos on the cloud). To most of us our photographs are our most cherished possessions.
Have you ever taken a photograph instead of locking in the memory at the time with the intention of looking at the photograph later to see the details? Without actually locking in the memory you will have the memory of the photograph only. You may remember great details of the photograph or have a memory of deciding to take a picture but the details of the actual memory will be fuzzy. If you don’t stop and file anything to memory the only thing there will be is a photograph, which will simply be evidence that you were there. There will not be any emotions attached to the photograph. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture with a memory attached is worth a million.
“Take a picture, it will last longer.” ~ Pee Wee Herman
You Have to Live it to Re-live it
Instead of just taking a photo, lock in a memory so that when you look at the photograph in the future you will remember the moment. When you look at the photo later you may remember the way that you felt at the moment the photo was taken. You may remember what song was playing or a natural soundscape. You may recall how cold it was or how good the wine tasted.
When you are having a moment that you want to be able to re-live again, the more of your senses that you use the easier it will be to recall and the more rich the memory will be for you. Feel the brisk air, the way your sweater is scratchy or how sweaty your hands are. Lock that in. Smell the fresh air or the strong garlic. Lock that in. See the details all around you. Look at things slowly so you can capture more than even a panoramic picture can. Check in with yourself and see how you feel. Do you have butterflies? Are you peaceful? Lock in your state of being. What do you hear? Are their cars rushing by or waves crashing? What song is playing? Lock in as many details as you can to create a memory that can be recalled and re-lived later. Then snap a picture!
The next time you look at that picture instead of using the details of the picture to remind you of the moment you can use the picture to remember the details of the moment and you can rely on your memory to fill in the blanks. This is an excellent exercise to help with your brainpower, your memory and your overall head health! This is also an excellent exercise to do with a partner. Discussing the details of an experience that you really want to remember with someone who is also experiencing it will lock it in even more. The conversation will be fun and in the future, when you look at the picture together you will also remember the wonderful conversation you had and many more intimate details.
As I try to be present and live in the moment, I will continue to take pictures to remember times and people that are special to me. Once I realized that I had a head full of photographs instead of memories I decided that I was going to do more than be present and live in the moment. I am going to be present, live in the moment and savor the moments that are special to me. I am going to create lasting memories from the actual experience. Then, if I want to, I will take a picture to top it all off.
SELFIE: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.
Creating a Scrapbook of Memories That Will Last a Lifetime
Remember buying film, taking pictures and rushing to the drug store or camera shop to get the photos developed? Waiting one hour was agonizing! I would be so excited to see my photos I would sit in the car and look at them. I remember having to pick and choose which pictures to take because there would only be 24 or 36 exposure film available. Nowadays, thanks to the digital world, we can take endless photographs anytime. This is great for many reasons such as getting the perfect shot and never running out of exposures. On the flipside, we spend a lot more of our time documenting our lives instead of actually being in the moment and living them.
My husband and I love to take pictures. We enjoy taking snapshots of our friends, nature photos and especially photos of our dog Bongo. Now that we have great cameras on our cell phones we never leave the house without the ability to document anything we are doing. After taking the pictures we download our cameras or phones onto our laptop. What happens after that varies. Sometimes we go back and edit them, crop them, turn them the right way, delete the ones that did not turn out great, label and organize them and enjoy the photos together. What usually happens is that we dump the photos onto our laptop, walk away and forget to look at them. Months later we realize that we have photos to edit and it becomes a chore. This creates a very large number of photos in our digital photo library; however we do not enjoy the photos like we did when we could only take a few at a time. We are giving up time during our special moments to take pictures instead of being present in the moment for pictures that we may not even look at or may become a hindrance. I decided that something needed to change. I wanted to get that feeling I used to get while waiting an hour for my photos, plus use technology to make my experience with digital photography even more rewarding.
5 Ways to Make Photos Special Again
- Don’t Over-Expose Yourself – I have been doing selfies for many years, even before the word selfie was entered into the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as an actual word. Taking too many of these photos can remove you from the moment and we all have to agree, it can be a bit narcissistic if you do it too often.
- Make it Snappy – Try deleting some of your photos that you know are no good right away directly from your camera. This makes for less to do when you get to the editing process.
- Fully Automatic – Making a habit of downloading your photos on a regular basis makes it less of a chore, plus seeing the photos right after an event helps to lock in the memories while they are still fresh. Regular downloading helps with keeping your photos organized and it’s also a good time to turn the photos the right direction, delete any unwanted images and do any other editing to make the final ready to share. Taking the time to really learn your photo program on your computer can help take the frustration out of this exercise.
- View Finding Time – Don’t forget the whole reason you carry your camera with you all the time. Stop and look at the photos! Make it exciting like it used to be by enjoying the photos with friends and loved ones, taking the time to talk about each image. This is also a great way to really lock in the special times in your memory bank. Making a slide show and viewing it on your television complete with music is a great way to enjoy your photo taking efforts. It’s so easy to do on most computers these days.
- Hit Them With Your Best Shot – Sharing your photos is a great gift for others, even if they are not on social media. Try printing out some of your photos to give away or better yet make an album for someone special with memories though the years. Photo calendars also make a great addition to any refrigerator.
- Adjust Your Focus – Having your face behind (or in front) of your camera all the time can be just as annoying as constantly texting. Take into consideration that it is not always polite when you are spending time with others to be snapping away as it is distracting and can make the time you are supposed to be spending together blurry.
You have read “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Memories” first on Live Big and Small. Please subscribe if you would like a notification sent to your e-mail each time a new post is published. Thank you for reading! Love, Pippy