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May 31, 2011


Leif Frenzel

Nice post.

I think the observation about something like pictures becoming a weaker replacement of memory and experience can be traced even further back: in Plato's Phaedrus there's a similar point made about writing (274c-275b). Socrates even says there that "writing shares a strange feature with painting [and we might add: photography]. The offspring of painting stand there as if they are alive, but if anyone asks them anything, they remain most solemnly silent. The same is true of written words." (275d)

Real experience requires interaction with what you experience. You can have that with the thing you photographed, but not with the picture only, afterwards. If one misses the chance to really experience and only takes a quick photo, then one ends up with a weak substitute, just as you describe it.


aaah but you are talking about 'digital' pictures. Taking film photographs is quite a different matter. Firstly the photos can take weeks or even years (I've got a huge backlog!) the images frequently are quite different from your memories - if you can remember taking then!

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