Capturing every step

Sontag discusses the quality of an image of an image, as perceived as photo albums. This past break I caught myself spending hours upon hours browsing old photographs; images from my grandparents’ childhood through my older brothers then of my own personal experiences. Sontag comments on how photography goes beyond passive observing. “To take pictures is to have an interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged” (Sontag 12).  I question, then, if my parents, as they documented every step of their children’s lives, photographed in part to hold tight to our youth and innocence. In this picture of my brother and me, neither of my parents could recognize the situation surrounding our very vivid expressions when questioned. Furthermore, as most albums process in order of occurrence, this photograph appeared alone, not in a sequence.

Contag relates the camera to a “predatory weapon—one that’s as automated as possible, ready to spring” (Sontag 14).  Because photography is such an accessible way to capture memories, my parents have been able to snap every step of my childhood into a memory, as captured in this photo.  Although Calvino comments that everything aside from photography “can drown in the unreliable shadow of memory,” I recognize that unexplainable pictures such as this also become lost. This makes me question further whether or not staged photography or captions within albums are the sole ways to fully capture a memory.


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