So the end of high school is coming. The perks of being senior: yearbook, prom, senior package, barbeque, etc – all of those fancy stuffs are there . I was not getting any. Not rich enough to pay for them.
Many friends told me: “Hey, you are too cheap. This is senior year. How are you gonna remember all of us?”
It is not an easy feeling to always being called cheap. But, there will be money needed to be spent for college education (textbooks, insurance, transportation fee and I-don’t-even-understand-what-they-are fees), therefore it is wiser to save up money from now.
Last year, I lost my 500 GB HDD. Having been using it for two years, I guess the money spent did not matter much anymore. But, I was kind of losing all the photos taken with friends – best friends – throughout the middle school and two first years of my high school. It was a horrifying feeling. Like, I was losing all memories with them. Like, when I became old, I would have nothing to look at to remember our young and happy days.
And then, two months ago, I made a huge mistake again. I required Facebook to send me all my photos and videos; then I deleted them on my account before checking the email. Later in the day, opening it, to my astonishment, the file did not contain all of my photos. In fact, I only received a small number of them.
I wrote a short essay about Snapchat three weeks ago and Robin kindly commented on it with some interesting questions:
“Does the lack of permanence imply a lack of value? If so, is there any reason to spend time creating something that will last only a few seconds? But if that’s true, what’s the value of a beautiful tune? Is it gone when it ends?”
I was struck by the questions and have been thinking about them for a while. Then, I pondered over all the pictures I had lost and the photos I could not take with my friends in high school (since I did not have money to join the senior activities). An idea seizes me.
The lack of permanence does not imply a lack of value. My photos are lost, but my memories are still with me. They are carved in my brain. I still remember “the beautiful tune” even after its being gone forever. I chuckle thinking about our crazy days in schools, can recall the precious moments and write about those as easily as pressing the “delete” button on Facebook. Memories are not made by a thousand times pressing the camera button; they are made by minds that live for those ticks of time so sincerely that they can hardly forget the snapshots of the moments. If we cannot recall the moments with people who we hold dear to, then maybe pictures would just be meaningless. Of course, photos do remind us of our memories with much more vividness and “Woa” moments, yet we should thereby regard them as our tools to remember, not memories themselves. About the friends that I do not have a chance to join senior activities with. Well, if I have to wait to make memories with them by what the school organizes for seniors, then those are probably not good friendships.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to deny the value of photography. It is one of the most wonderful inventions by humans that make our lives easier and lovelier. I cannot even imagine a life without photography. Looking at myself when I was a kid, realizing how much my friends have changed over the years, or becoming mesmerized by photos that change the world…all of those benefits.
Nevertheless, if we look at how the world involving media is functioning, we realize a disturbing truth. We are so fond of holding phones in our hands to take pictures that we forget to have fun. We take photos to show off how we are living our lives, rather than really living them. We smile a thousand times in our photos, but do not have a single happy moment. I know that this is not the case for everyone, but I do witness it during the time in high school, when technological devices like smartphones start to become popular.
Until this point, I don’t know what else to say, but rather than telling you all that my loss of photos does not seem devastating to me anymore. And thank you for reading. Please leave me a comment, telling me your experience with photography. I would love to hear your opinions.