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"Taking photographs ruins the memory, research finds " ?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Yeats, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    • Like Like x 5
  2. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    It's true. But fortunately I photographed this post so now I'll forget it...
     
    • Like Like x 4
  3. Gubrz

    Gubrz O.* Gonzo's & Bentley's Dad

    979
    Jun 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Eliot
    • Like Like x 1
  4. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    Thanks for sharing!
    I concede there may be some advantage to living fully in the moment, and I've known people whose cameras I've wanted to confiscate, but
    1) I'd want to see the size and methodology of the study before I put my camera away entirely

    2) Is the problem that picture taking prevents memories from taking hold or that the photographer concentrates on one thing and misses others? The article says the first and the researcher seems to say the second.

    3) One has to balance an impaired memory of a recent event against the possibility of no memory at all of a distant event. Everything's a trade-off.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I don't know. Given that my pictures of my parent's 25th wedding anniversary, or my father's 70th birthday surprise party are there to help everyone recall the event. I'm not sure I'd have wanted NOT to photograph it. Certainly for some of the event I recall the photographic images of it, but I have distinct memories of things I did not photograph, such as setting up the sound system with my cousin for the anniversary, and my father being overcome with emotion when he realized that his oldest child -- my sister from the other side of the country -- was there to celebrate his birthday. My father died in 1985, a week after his 72nd birthday, and thirty years later the memories seem pretty secure. And though I had a camera to my eye enough to take over 4000 photos during my month long trip to Asia a few years back (some of which really suck) I have vivid memories of that trip. I can close my eyes, call up a vision of the Nam Kahn, and have an almost palpable memory of Luang Prabang. And quite aside from that, I enjoy my memories of taking pictures, which is not negligible.

    So, I'm skeptical. So many studies overstate the importance of fairly minor results, that it pays, as Ruby says, to know a little about the methodology used for both gathering and interpreting the information. And if it is true, well, I'll have my photos to remind of things when I've gone quite gaga.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    "A study has shown that taking pictures rather than concentrating fully on the events in front of us prevents memories taking hold. "

    This might be the key statement. I think those of us who are more serious about getting good photos are concentrating on the event, whereas maybe the happy iPhone snappers are concentrating on, well, snapping.
     
  7. staticantics

    staticantics SC Regular

    136
    Oct 15, 2013
    Central California
    Chris
    OH WOW! People who were told to remember something remembered it? And people who were asked to photograph something didn't remember it as well?

     
    • Like Like x 3
  8. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    I know on occasion I spend more time trying to get the right picture than just enjoying the moment.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    looking at an old photo I'm often reminded of the reason why I took it, the place, the time & even sometimes the smells. For me a photo is an aide de memoir

    wish I had taken more
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    The trick to remembering details about bunches of artwork coming at you all at once is to photograph the labels!!

    The other way is to look at less and savor what you see, which can be done while photographing. There's no reason you cannot photograph something and also study to remember it in detail: archeologists do it all the time. What happens if you tell the photographers in the test to photograph AND remember?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Same here. And this is why I like having a quality compact that I can just put on auto and fire off some happy snaps so I can get back to living in the moment. Not every photo moment is made for high art. :wink:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I like to have photographs of places I've been, people I've seen, relatives, friends and so on, but I get what they are saying... the camera for some people tends to replace the event... in that they are so busy concentrating on photographing the event, they forget to enjoy it for its own sake, which will carry its own memories. I don't think they are saying don't take photographs, but they are saying (or perhaps its just me saying) don't take photographs to the exclusion of enjoying what you're there for.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Exactly right. Of course, often I'm out on a photo-specific outing, which is different.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    I said you smell like a wet goat!
     
  16. I believe they are refering to over shooting. Taking shot after shot after shot after shot.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    I'm guilty of this on a disturbingly regular basis. Many times, I find myself experiencing an event through a viewfinder or LCD, and no matter how good this LCD is, it is no substitute for being present in the moment. Sometimes, my almost compulsive photography detracts from experiencing and enjoying an event as it unfolds.

    As I look back through my photos, though, they are excellent aide memoirs. I can recall the 'spaces between the photos', the times when I didn't have a camera glued to my face.

    At other times, the photography becomes part of the experience, for better or worse. Photography is a source of endless joy for me, so it can enhance an otherwise dull experience, or fundamentally change it.
     
  18. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I have thought this for a long time. I rarely take my camera for events. I genuinely like to watch without taking photos. I like to use the camera when the propose is to take pictures. It drives my wife nuts, as she uses her camera to record events.
     
  19. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin SC Top Veteran

    677
    Nov 15, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    While some of this is certainly true, it's more a general problem, than a photo-specific one.
    E.g. some people are also constantly playing with their smart phones when they're out for lunch with other people, not paying attention at all.

    Generalized you might say: Don't put material objects between yourself and your surroundings...

    A happy medium is best I think - as most of the time.
    I'm currently going through old harddrives (preparing a photobook for my parents) and am delighted with the memories that come back. I'm glad I took all these photos...
     
    • Like Like x 2