Photographs and Nostalgia


I have many photographs from my childhood, perhaps to the point of excess. Several albums’ worth of them. I can take out one of these at any point and have a look at them and remember what it felt like to be a child or what it felt like to be an adolescent. I remember old friends I haven’t seen in many years or places that I haven’t visited for ages or that have been demolished.

From my teens onward photographs are much more sparse, and this is something I regret. I can’t as easily be taken back to those years as I can my very early ones. As a teenager I believed that if something was important I would remember it. But here’s the thing: human memory is very fragile, and can easily be distorted. So in the last year or so I’ve increasingly began to take photographs; of places I’ve been, of people I love, of myself to remember what I looked like at a certain age, et cetera.

So this is what I will urge you to do as well. Take photographs. Take a lot of them. You don’t know what you will want to remember, what you will look back on in ten or twenty years and want to se a record of. An event might seem unimportant to you now, but as time goes on it will gain in importance. Your memory is faulty, sadly you cannot rely on it. Take photographs; and then, ten years from now you can look at them and remember the person you were.