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!

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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.

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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.

We are all ARTISTS painting LIGHT into our darkest valleys.