A Quick Thought on the Importance of Photography as a Record of Memories

In our never-ending pursuit of artistic perfection in our photography, it’s easy to forget that the real power of an image is to capture and preserve a moment in time. A new short documentary/advertisement for Google Photos shines a light on just that.

The video follows the story of Amit who lost his sight at the age of 14 and, thanks to advances in corneal transplants, has regained his sight 15 years later. Amit is then presented with his families photos allowing him to finally see the moments that he had previously experienced in darkness. These are not “beautifully shot” images. They’re not carefully composed, not properly lit, not swimming with dynamic range, but I imagine that to Amit they are some of the most wonderful images he’ll ever see.

The ability to capture a moment in time is a very powerful tool. Photos have helped to start and end wars, they’ve toppled giants, solved mysteries, and expanded our view of not just the universe but our place within it. These are important images, socially and culturally.

I’ve taken images that I’m proud of, where I’ve composed well, thought about my shot, waited for the right moment, and then sat back to let the “likes” roll in. I also have photos that I love, myself at seven years old with my first skateboard, a snapshot of my father before he shaved his beard off, my wedding pictures, and a photo of my daughter less than five minutes old holding onto my finger. These images aren’t going to change the world on a large scale but that’s not what they’re for. They’re my world.

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7 Comments

Anonymous's picture

Powerful indeed. That's what it's all about, the moment. Thanks for sharing.

Rob Mynard's picture

Thanks Victor.

Anonymous's picture

You're welcome.

A huge eye opener for me was when I was talking about last years Disney trip to my 5 year old. We had such a great time and my memories were as fresh as when we left. But she seemed to have not remembered things as vividly. She started Kindergatten so I don't know if all that new info flushed out the old or what. But it was a bit heartbreaking.

But since I take photos then I just pulled up an album and I literally saw in her face that everything refreshed in her brain. It felt so good to know that our memories are still in our overworked brains somewhere (and felt doubly good that my vacation money wasn't completely wasted)

Rob Mynard's picture

I know the feeling, I have a 2 year old and she gets photographed a lot. Recently I asked her if she wanted to go to her gym class and she gave me her "i don't understand" look but after i showed her some shots on my iphone she remembered and was excited to go.

Jim Milliken's picture

Nice post. And true. We get lost in technique and technical perfection and tend to look at an image as something to work on and alter and perfect. Like robs pic of his newborn daughter; perfection is present in that instance, then and forever.