Think about the last time you went to a show, exhibit or met a friend. Surely you keep a record (or several) of this and other moments on your smartphone, right? And how often do you revisit photos in your virtual albums to remember a specific situation or simply to miss them?
Always having a digital camera device at hand has made the habit of cataloging memories in photographs more accessible, and for many people to take hundreds of pictures and post every detail on social networks has become mandatory. But have you stopped to think about how it affects our memories of the past and the way we see each other?
Although studies on the subject are still scarce, it is true that we use new technologies as a support for when memory fails. But our obsession with photographing every detail has become so great that we often cease to live the moment distracting ourselves in the process and thereby compromising our experience and our future memories.
“Memory needs to be exercised regularly to function well. There are many studies that document the importance of memory recall practice – for example, in college students. Memory is and will continue to be essential for learning. There is, in fact, some evidence showing that compromising almost all of the knowledge and memories in the cloud may impede the ability to remember, “says Guiliana Mazzoni, a professor of psychology at Hull University and an expert on the subject.
Another problem of using photos more than our true memories is the possibility of creating a distorted identity, after all, our luggage helps to build what we are. But if spontaneity is lacking in much of today’s photographic documentation as in selfish, with faces, mouths, excessive use of filters and corrections, this can affect the way we see ourselves as individuals.
While our memory is not as accurate, accessible, or even enjoyable as a cloud-stored photograph, exercising it to the fullest is essential to keeping it active and adaptable to change, making our identity more real. Our life is not linear, much less the memories we have of it, and as uncomfortable as it may be to remember certain situations, such as a haircut of dubious taste, are exactly those moments that have helped shape what we are today.
“It’s interesting to think about how technology changes the way we behave and function. As long as we are aware of the risks, we can probably ease the damaging effects. The possibility that really causes chills in my spine is that we lose all those precious photos because of the malfunction of our smartphones, “says Guiliana Mazzoni, who still leaves a piece of advice:” So the next time you’re in a museum, take a moment to see and experience it all. Just in case these photos disappear. “