Saving and Reliving Memories

in #gems10 months ago

Digitizing old memories can be an interesting experience in with many questions can arise...

After many iterations of mechanical steps of removing the analog pictures from the photo albums and laying them on the scanner and pressing the scan button to retrieve the digitized version on my PC I suddenly wondered. For whom am I digitizing them? And after many years or even decades of them lying in the box in the attic why were they even shot in the first place?


If you think about it, it's kind of interesting. Why do we take pictures? And perhaps the even more interesting question: why don't we look at them after some time anymore? Even taking digital ones doesn't seem to solve this "problem". They normally just lie there in the phone or laptop until you realize that you got memories that you could revisit. But we rarely do that. I mean sure, I know of my grandma who loved to look through those old photo albums and could tell a story for each of those pictures. So I guess that is a good use case. To relive memories and to "defragment" them after decades of degradation in the brain. One can learn from the past or just enjoy funny pictures that seem so out of time now.

But still I was wondering about the bigger picture, and one does have many hours to think about this when digitizing them by hand. Who was going to look at them? For whom was I doing all this work? Obviously, I felt that it would be unfortunate if they got lost somehow or would degrade over time. They could be passed onto my family and the next generation. So that alone seemed to be worth while. But this whole process raised other questions. For instance, how do we operate on a day to day basis in regards to memory? How many memories are part of us in the current time of living? What relevance have they on how we live our lives? How important are they to us? And why?

We feel compelled to take pictures of moments we enjoy. This moment then somehow feels special; it should be frozen in time, it should become a memory to think back upon one day. But in this accelerated time we live in we often don't have time to relive moments like this as it feels like we would "waste" time that could be used to "get work done". Who still has time to browse through hundreds of pictures and relive memories? That seems like a luxury reserved for those special few that just seem to have time to do so.

Or should we all just reserve some hours in the week to relive special moments in our lives? Perhaps that is a thing to think about. But one could just as easily think that taking pictures and reliving them is a superfluous activity. I mean, don't we always take pictures all of the time with our minds? The meaningful memories are stored in our brain anyways. There are even some people with a photographic memory that can see those moments like actual photographs. That must be quite interesting. But also difficult, to have all that information stored in the brain I guess. Or is it always there, and only some can retrieve it?

Finally, I am with my last batch of pictures. The last pictures to be turned digital and living in the digital space from now on (or at least side by side with their analog counterparts; with either one of them outliving the other depending on circumstance). I guess I have to pick up a digital picture frame now, otherwise I won't really be looking at them for the next decades. But who knows, maybe then I'll look at them more often and relive some of those moments which my brain has in all likelihood already forgotten.


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