by Molly Alessandra Cooper
I blocked Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ feature, and deleted my Timehop app from my phone recently. I’d become consumed by memories of the past. Each day, I woke up and transitioned, back through memories of my life a year ago, two years ago, seven years ago. I welcomed in the day by allowing myself to be reminded of these moments.
Engaged, I had half-consciously made it my morning routine to trawl through snippets of my life yearly, from all social media channels. I’d half smile at the image of an event with a group of lost friends. It took me a while to notice the melancholy which followed. I didn’t want to be part of this trend.
The sweet warmth of a memory washes over us before the pain of longing fills us up. Nostalgia is a bittersweet emotion, plagued by the notion of living in the past and avoiding the present. Why do my generation pour themselves over apps which provide a constant reminder of these moments?
Photography captures an eternal moment, making the event remembered limitless. Whilst this is a wonderful tool for experiencing and sharing memories, I’m concerned that we do this too often; how many of these photographed memories found on Timehop and our vast archive of photos (we took a trillion photos in 2015) kept on our phones are still going to hold meaning when we are at an age in which we’d like to share photos with our children? If we revisit our past so often, what will still be interesting when we’re older? Will we feel the transition of shared nostalgia in the same way our parents did when they sat down with old photo albums and flicked through them with us?
I’m scared that we are making our memories less precious by having such easy access to them. I worry that when it comes to moving house, I won’t enjoy being surprised to find old photos from a 21st birthday shoved into a box or photos of my sisters and I practicing dance routines as kids. Our disposable income is put to better use on cold pressed juice, matcha tea and Voga classes than on printing our digital ‘Kodak Moments’ and sticking them into albums.
Digital photography and the apps we use to view them are bombarding us. We are drowning in a sea of digital photographs, which we constantly flick through. I’m trying to step back, take more photos on film, and resist the urge to peek into my past life so often. Instead, I’ll save the experience for when I’m amongst friends or family, so we can share and enjoy the nostalgia. We’ll sit around the photo album, reminisce and smile, just like Kodak intended it.