Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Get the Picture?

I have alluded to Susan Sontag before in this blog: She wrote a book called On Photography that I read as part of my task tutoring students. One of the significant points I remember was that she felt that photography had ruined our memories and our ability to impress images on our minds as we saw them. We have become, according to her, so used to taking snapshots of everything that we do not store the images in our memories: instead, we store them in a photo album...or, in our case today, in The Cloud.
It's true; I think it's also true that we fool ourselves into remembering events not as they really occurred but as one or two positive order to remind us of only the positive, happy moments while conveniently forgetting the not-so-fond memories that we might otherwise hold.
Significant events like weddings and major holidays provide great examples. As one looks at the photos, all that "appears" are the pleasant memories of important days--not the crying, the shouting, the emotional trauma that always seems to take hold when we expect an absolutely perfect occasion and get, well, something more human.
The yearly family photo reminds us how much we love those around us while allowing us to repress the simmering resentments and anger that generally come up from the subterranean pit where they lie most of the time. Whether it's the influence of a child's meltdown followed by poor parenting pointed out by family members or some generally petty jealousy, these events  cast a distinct pall over the occasion, and various members of the assemblage either try to look the other way or find an excuse to walk to the kitchen to "clean up."
The elephant in the room remains to cast a great shadow over the proceedings and personal relationships; sometimes remaining for years, though mostly removed as the group photos become the overriding image of the gathering.
But in those cases where the shadow lingers over each succeeding gathering...
Pictures aren't enough.


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