As one of my favorite photographs of my dad and I, the three seconds when this image was captured remains to be one of my most vivid childhood memories. It was taken on a hot, humid summer afternoon at my grandmother’s house in Texas when I was four or five years old, and my grandmother had bought a pinata for my brother and I. I remember having a blindfold tied around my head, snagging my hair in the knot, and my dad spinning me around several times before leading me to the pinata. I remember tilting my head back, sure that no one would notice if I peaked out from under the handkerchief. I remember swinging, and triumphantly hitting the pinata, although no damage was done to the colorful paper mache parrot…..
Or do I?
This picture represents an example of the effect a photograph can have on one’s memory. While I’m certain there is no way I would have recalled this memory without photographic evidence, once I see the picture, I can feel the blindfold on my face, I can sense the warm, humid Texas air, and I can remember the mischievous satisfaction I got from peaking out from under the blindfold. Whether photography has the power to jog memories, or whether it actually recreates moments in time, there is undoubtedly a positive correlation between the details of a photograph and the depth of a memory. I do not remember anything else about this trip besides this picture, so what would it take to conjure those details? I doubt that a story my mother might tell me about my time there would have the same effect. The image stirs something in the viewer, whether they are in the picture or not, and allows them to make a sensory connection to a time and place that they may have otherwise stored away in their memory, never to be recalled again.