I've been going through a lot of pictures during the past month.
I bought a scanner, and started putting many of my slides and photos onto zip disks. For every trip I've made, I get to choose four or five photos and put them on the page.
It's a tough process.
For example, I have around 500 slides of Vietnam. I have to pick 20 pictures, at most, to represent an entire country, and my feelings about it, during 21 days of my life.
It gets you thinking, about what that time means to you, and how you want to remember it.
When you take pictures, you're recording an event. When you edit the pictures, you're making memories.
It's been said that a photographer is not defined by the pictures he takes, but by the pictures he keeps (or, to take another tack, throws away).
If you keep all the pictures you've ever taken and put them all in a book, it says something about you. Maybe you're a realist in pursuit of truth, maybe you're a cheapskate who hates to throw things away, maybe you don't have the time to edit, or maybe you're just anal retentive.
But as soon as you throw away one photo, you're making memories. You're choosing how you, and anyone who looks at your pictures, remembers the events.
Do you get rid of all the pictures where you look fat? Or all of the pictures where your spouse looks fat?
How about the pictures of dirty cities? Or cloudy days? Or maybe all pictures of cities?
Or maybe you don't take pictures.
If that's true, I can only say one thing.
It seems to me that either you're making memories, or your losing them.
Once, in my hometown, I was watching an icicle shine in the sun. Drip, drip, into a puddle on the driveway, it kept getting smaller. A thought occurred to me.
like icicles in the sun,
not knowing the damage is done
until they're gone.
I never worked that thought into a song, like I intended, but it has stuck with me for years.
I've worked hard to keep my memories from melting.
I take a lot of pictures, and I edit my pictures with a lot of deliberation.
I take pictures that show things the way I want them to be. And I throw away any that don't support my feelings. I'm not a realist. I'm a romantic.
Many people have looked at my pictures and said, "That's not the Japan I remember." Or "Wow, it wasn't very crowded on that day."
Their comment may or may not be true. The only fact is that they are seeing the world through my eyes. And when I look at their pictures, I'm seeing the world through their eyes.
What most people don't realize, is what a powerful tool this can be. That is, a persons' beliefs about the future will be based on their beliefs about the past.
Good past = Good future.
Bad past = Bad future.
So, if you manage your past, you can manage your future?
I believe so. Build your memories of the past, and you will go a long way towards building a happy future.
Self delusional? Perhaps. But we all engage in some type of self delusion anyway, so we might as well actively manage it for our own good.
Life is like a movie, and you get to shape the script for all the scenes that have occurred so far.
Remember that, the next time you take, or look at photos.
You're not taking pictures.
You're making memories.