Yeah, I saw the Notebook...

...and it was really kind of familiar.  I often joke on here about Dani's poor memory, but it isn't exactly a laughing matter.  She honestly doesn't remember things sometimes, and that's only going to get worse with age.  She used to ask me why I'm always taking pictures.  That's our "notebook," I'd tell her.

While I try and go out and find interesting things to take pictures of (e.g., abandoned buildings and underground tunnels, obviously), most of my favorites are those ones I snap in the most mundane of moments.  Those are the ones that say the most sometimes.  Familiar domestic scenes will slip away from our memories while the more dramatic ones remain... even though they represent a much smaller portion of our lives.

If you look back through family albums of my childhood, you might get the impression that a significant chunk of my youth was spent at the beach or Disney World.  Christmas seems to last for days, whereas the non-events that make up all our childhoods lack any real representation.  Sure, there "events" are moments I want to remember, but the times between are just as important.

I think one of my favorite pictures I ever took of Dani was one I snapped shortly after we moved in together.   It was late one night as we were getting ready to go to bed, and she was standing in the kitchen in her ratty yellow bathrobe and with a two-liter bottle of Fresca she had just gotten out of the fridge.  She immediately cursed at me and asked just why the fuck I would take a picture of her then of all possible times.  Why?  Because that's who I love and it was a picture of who she was in that moment, not a contrived, posed piece of fictional imagery like so many of our smiling xmas portraits are.  Whenever we let moments slip away without capturing them like that, they're gone, and I didn't want to miss that one.

Over the time we've been together, I've always gotten Dani increasingly better quality cameras and equipment... then ended up using them myself.  Coupling the above philosophy to faster and more useful cameras, I've taken progressively more and more pictures every year that I've had a digital camera.  To give you an idea:

2001 - 83 pics
2002 - 173
2003 - 82 (+268 exploring pictures; we started in December)
2004 - 713 (+1576 exploring pictures)
2005 - 1729 (+4255 exploring pictures)
2006 - 3320 (+3328 exploring pictures)
2007 - 7395 (+1152* exploring pictures)
2008 - 3449 (+788 exploring pictures)

*Not much exploring on account of incessant rains making tunnels inaccessible and/or dangerous and most else too soggy to bother with.

**As of 7/3/07 when I ran the numbers.

What I find the most interesting in looking back at pictures from almost any point in time isn't the subject of the photo but rather things in the background.  Often, it's the little things that ground that image in a moment in my life more than seeing a younger version of myself or someone from my past.  For example, a glimpse at my dorm room in college was a snapshot not just of what I owned, but also who I was, what music I was listening to at the time, what I was reading, what classes I was taking, etc.   Even pictures from just a few months ago capture cues that trigger a cascade of memories that would otherwise lie dormant.

You can argue this and live it differently, but I've come to the conclusion that you win the game of life not by collecting the most friends or money or possessions, but rather by collecting the most and the best memories.  While our brains are fallible, the camera (as they say) doesn't lie.  Pictures are always there (so long as you're good at making backups), and images don't lose details the way we do over time, especially if you're Dani.

Copyright 2007 Alexplorer.
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