Pictures: Our Personal Time Machines
So, last Saturday I went crazy. Lost my mind. Completely freaked out. Screamed. Why? Because of my external hard drive. As always, I mounted it to my MacBook, waiting for the icon to pop up. This time it didn’t. After several “port” changes, several restarts of my computer, and twenty or so minutes of extreme worry, O learned a driver had been corrupted and the only way to fix it is to wipe the hard drive clean and start over. Imagine the “Scream” (that crazy painting by Munch) right now. You’re probably reading this and thinking why that would cause someone to completely freak out or scream. It’s because on that external hard drive are 17 years worth of pictures. Yes, the photos on that hard drive go all the way back to 2002. Luckily (actually super super luckily), I was able to retrieve all 564,312 (yes, a little more than half a million) pictures and successfully transfer them onto a new external hard drive. *Sigh of relief*.
I cannot imagine losing my entire 17-year photo portfolio, photo library, albums— whatever you want to call it. And during those twenty or so minutes, that’s all I kept thinking about. I kept thinking about, one, how I should definitely have more than one copy of this hard drive, and two, all the pictures that I can never take again. My pets I had when I was a child. My grandfather. My uncle. High school friendships. Places I’ve been to and probably never will again. Buildings that have been torn down. Life. It’s sad to think that these could have all been lost forever. But what makes us so emotionally attached to pictures? The memory it holds. One of my favorite quotes about photography goes like this: “We take photos to return to a moment otherwise gone.” I can look at a picture from Christmas Day 2003 and be instantly transported back to the day. I can remember the joy that was experienced. The memories that were made. That picture is my return ticket. That picture is my time machine. No matter how far back the picture goes, I will always remember that specific moment. Our brain is wired like that. Have you ever been somewhere and smelled something that instantly brought you back to a specific time and/or place? Pictures do the same. As we get older, our minds tend to forget and precise details of events can become fuzzy. Pictures can help us from forgetting all those details.
Next time you look at a picture—whether it’s an old family picture, a nature picture, or just a random picture you took—think about where it transports you back to and take a moment to reminisce about that time.
Thanks for reading!
**To keep the feel of nostalgia, none of the pictures featured in this week blog have been post-processed (edited in any way). All pictures are the original format.