The importance of preserving our memories
& what photography has to do with it…
Did you know that our brains absorb negative experiences INSTANTLY - but they resist the good?!
According to research on memory making, it takes only 1-3 seconds for a negative experience to imprint upon the brain, making a memory. While the experience of positivity/beauty takes at least 30 seconds to become a memory!
This means that if we are not actively PRESENT for at least 30 seconds during a beautiful experience,
then it will not even become a memory.
This research completely changed my life!
As a mother who desperately wants to remember every tiny detail of my children’s growth, this was terrifying. I’d taken countless photos, but I couldn’t remember the events captured in my photographs.
I thought about the amount of time I had spent savoring my photography clients - absolutely for at least 30 seconds each photograph. So much savoring of the moment. Soaking in the beauty of these families. And for each client, I had thousands of photographs! Each one imprinted on my mind like a brand.
It made perfect sense to me after learning this why I felt so filled by my work - I WAS ABSORBING THE GIFT OF THE PRESENT.
I knew this was not the case for my own family and my own memories. I began to grieve for all the lost opportunities of savored moments. Evaporated hope from the legacy of my mind.
I BEGAN TO PRACTICE THE ART OF PRESENCE IN MY OWN HOME USING MY CAMERA AS A TOOL OF HEALING.
Research shows that the very act of slowing down, savoring a moment and then revisiting the moment later helps to solidify the memory into the brain.
the act of being PRESENT pushes our experiences past our short-term memory buffers and into long term storage.
My practice of savoring through photographing began to shift my negative mindset into a place of giddy expectation.
Rather than staying in bed and not wanting to face the day, I began to wake up early to see the sunrise, ready with my camera to welcome whichever sleepy-eyed child that would walk down the steps first before the chaos of the day.
The goal for these photographs was not perfection, but presence.
To be fully in the moment AND have a way to return to it later.
Taking photographs allowed the negative voices saying I had little worth in my head to quiet. Instead of swirling around without purpose, I was brought to the center of the storm, to a place of stillness. The photographs I took became proof that beauty was in fact all around me - even when I could not feel it.
I realized that my pre-programmed negative belief system was changing. I no longer felt stuck. I felt FREE.
I began to see that every moment of my life was full of meaning just waiting to be noticed, admired and translated into art. I found myself chasing Presence the same way my children chase after fireflies in the dark. Savoring my life as art became a meditation. Each imprint of another positive memory and every photograph - a prayer.