Pictures Can Challenge Memory

By making photographs of people, places, and objects, everyday, you will undergo a shift in how you see, what you see, and when you see.  Sometimes, a picture of your own creation may reveal details you don’t remember, or details that went previously unnoticed.

On a recent drive through my mother’s childhood neighborhood,  a place where I spent considerable time in my own childhood during visits to my grandparents, we drove past a home that I must have looked at dozens and dozens of times as a youngster. I had a playmate who lived directly across the street from this home.

BrickMemoryMalden-3068-web

Brickwork

More than 35 years later, I recalled only that this was a brick house; the sort of home the three little pigs would have idealized. My mother confirmed that this home has changed very little from the how it appeared when she herself lived a half-block away. I’m amazed by the detailed masonry. There had always been decoratively patterned brickwork on this facade. Of that, I have no memory.

Here is an exercise in developing your own attention to visual details:

Think of a place or object that you believe you remember. Next, pay a visit to it, and photograph it. When you examine the view of it as your photograph, ask yourself, “Did you really see it as it was?”

What steps do you take to sharpen your visual acuity via a camera?

Do you notice details before, during or after you make your photographs?

Does your memory of a scene, object or person match your photographic images?

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