Back in December I was having dinner with a friend and the subject of photography came up. We had both spent time overseas and taken photos in the respective countries we had visited, but in terms of volume we had gone to opposite ends. I had taken over 8,000 photos (and a few videos) on my trip, while he had only taken a few dozen during his. At first I just assumed that he wasn’t big on photography, but he then explained that the reason he took so few photos was because of a study he had read about. According to this study, taking more photos seems to reduce the number of concrete memories created by your brain. Though the reason for this is not certain, it is postulated that perhaps the brain recognizes that you are taking a lot of photos and thus doesn’t exert itself to form memories, believing that the photos will do all the memory work for it. I find this theory very interesting and can understand the logic behind it, though I’m not sure I believe it. My counter-theory to this is that taking photos does not so much reduce the creation of memories, as instead it just moves memories further down into our subconscious, and then the photos themselves serve as a key to bring them back to the forefront of our minds. In my particular case, I would even go so far as to say that I my brain behaves in the opposite fashion of the study’s theory. The more I photograph something, the better I seem to remember it, and maybe the reason for that is that my brain recognizes that things that get photographed more have a higher priority for me, and thus it works harder to create and maintain those memories. This is all pure conjecture, of course, but I thought it was an interesting topic at the time.

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