June 22, 2022

The Counter-Intuitive Method to Construct Memories

Does a camera capture a memory?

Or, does it pull you away from making one?

I’ve been asking myself this again as I returned from my holiday in Italy this week.

For the vast majority of people, I think spending less time with a camera would actually be beneficial for creating stronger, more meaningful memories.

More mindfulness, less distraction and more attentiveness to the present moment = a stronger memory.

A camera captures a record of a moment, but its not the same as making a memory.

A memory isn’t constructed by a camera, or is it?

How I Construct Memories.

This time last week, whilst hiking the Dolomites in northern Italy, my backpack held a digital camera, an old film camera and a drone.

Am I a hypocrite? Well yes, and no.

These devices undoubtedly removed me (at least partially) from the attentiveness that a holiday experience craves.

However, I use my cameras to document moments and then using them, I construct memories. I do this by making short films.

Looking back at the camera footage introduces an element of active recall, forcing my brain to remind itself of its experiences. The spaced repetition of watching these moments cements them in my brain. But here’s where the magic comes in:

Generating a script, storyline or narrative is where the construction of a memory really begins.

To seek a connecting thread amongst those experiences requires building connections that may not have been immediately obvious before, perhaps not even present at all.

For example, by using all footage containing my friends, I might construct a story about friendship, road trips or travelling with friends. Combined with a strong narrative, audiovisual assets and emotive music, I may just create a piece that gives more life to those moments, constructing long-lasting memories that otherwise may not have existed.

Perhaps it’s a more “artificial” way of creating memories than simply being present in the moment, but I think that discounts a very strong, novel and creative way to build upon the human experience.

The next time you take out a camera, ask yourself: am I making a memory, or pulling myself away from one?

Every week, I write about philosophy, self-fulfilment and creativity.
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