Photography and Memory by Stephany Poce

We take more photos now than ever. However, do we still value them like we did in the past?

As a photographer, I take countless photos every day. I take them with professional cameras, different lenses, and with smart phone cameras. I’m always trying to get the right angle, feeling, shade, aperture, focus, and lighting. It takes patience to get it right. Some people prefer completely candid shots but I’m not one of those.

Growing up both my mother and father were always snapping shots of our family on vacation at Disneyland, at the beach, on my birthday, the first day of school, and on and on…. My mother would say to me, “Stephany smile for the camera but look natural” which was always a challenge for me. I always ended up looking stiff.

The feelings I get when I look at those old photos in my dusty photo albums is one of sentiment and maybe a bit of sadness. Sometimes I long for those more simplistic times when I didn’t have to rush from school, to work appointments, to run errands, to pay bills and all the other responsibilities an adult has now in this day and age.

One of my favorite photos is that of our whole family while we were on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. Our whole family is wearing shorts and t-shirts, I’m wearing a baseball cap, and I can feel the anticipation and joy in our faces because we know we will be arriving to the canyon lands soon. The photo has the ability to transport me back to that time and the feeling that I was feeling as the photo was being taken.
As time passed, my father invested in a fancy video camera and began documenting our family vacations. I feel the same type of feelings when I look at our old family videos as I do when I look at the photos which I find interesting….feelings of some sadness, feelings of wanting to go back to re-experience the moments.

In our current times where everything we buy and do is forced on us to be bigger, better, more, I feel like we are in the midst of photo overload. We take photos of our every move which cheapens the photos or videos. More is not always better. As cliché as the saying “less is more” is, I feel it to be true. Quality, not quantity, is the key.

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