I don’t take pictures. The uninformed might attribute this to the fact that I don’t have a smartphone, and so the only camera that is ever with me is 1998’s worst, but even when I had a smartphone I didn’t take pictures. This fall, in Stratford, I had to switch back to an iPhone for travel purposes, and I took about one picture: the first day my mother asked me for a picture of the house I was living in. After that there was nada. For many people, pictures preserve — a quick shot of your two best friends in front of the Eiffel tower will keep a part of you there forever. Some people take pictures incessantly in an effort to preserve everything, others take pictures for only the most special of moments, and some take none at all. I’m the latter. If no one ever took a picture of me, my own visual existence would go undocumented. When asked why I don’t take any pictures, the question is usually posed something like don’t you want to remember this moment forever? I think that would be nice, but a picture isn’t me remembering it, exactly. Looking at one jogs my memory, sure. But it isn’t the same as my memory. Studies have shown that memory changes as a memory is accessed again and again, oftentimes altering to fit the scene that the rememberer likes best. In this way easily comes nostalgia, and positive memories of things you may not have altogether enjoyed. I want my memory to be my memory. I don’t disrespect photographers at all, but for me a photograph is not mine. A photo never has had the power to represent the succulent taste of that expensive dessert, or the fleeting smile on the lips of a best friend. Even though it might help me recall the feelings, they’re never full. I would rather have a fog of memory, where the past emerges with striking unpredictability. Without pictures, I’m constantly encouraged to find the fleeting beauty in now.

-Quinn Hickey


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