Many years ago, on a trip to California with a friend, we found ourselves on a beach outside of San Francisco. The sun was beginning to set. A young woman on a horse, riding bareback, slipped into view, a not-to-be-missed Kodak moment. I focused my camera as she cantered along the shore, snapped a photo, only later to realize that the film had not advanced.
What might have become a color print to frame and hang on a wall, take me back to a place I’d been, became instead an image emblazoned in my mind. Details may be hazy — was she wearing white? Was her hair in a ponytail or flyng freely in the breeze? How many shades of purple and pink was the sky? — but something much deeper is what stays with me.
Memories are made of these. Now that we have phone cameras almost always at the ready to point and click for any reason (or no reason), deliberation in taking photos gives way to immediate gratification. With all the reflexiveness of a nervous tic, we pull our phones from pockets or handbags. We hold them up, we zoom in on the subject (often ourselves).