Say Cheese!- John Dietrich
Memorabilia: objects collected as souvenirs of important personal events or experiences.
Mementos: an object given or kept as a reminder of or in memory of somebody or something.
Souvenir: something bought or kept as a reminder of a particular place or occasion.
The three combined collectively suggest, reminders of personal memories. It is less about the task of the buying of the object or the materialistic aspect of it, but more about the emotional response that overtakes us upon looking at it, holding it, and perhaps even smelling it. There is nothing more valuable in life then the ability to recapture, to cherish once again, and attempt to relive what we consider the most precious moments of our lives. This is the significance of the souvenir. Unfortunately the word itself tends to bring to mind tacky key chains and spoon collections, but again the importance seems to reach well beyond the object itself and much more to what the object triggers. It’s often said that we spend our lives creating memories, and so we need the means to have at our deposal at anytime, the capability to reach into our drawer of consciousness and pull out anyone of these past experiences when they are most needed. They inspire us, they validate our identity, they encourage us to understand where we’ve been in order to help determine where we’re going, and they are simply there to make us remember once again, because we so desperately want to. “Souvenir” is a word so easily dismissed, until we really sit down and realize how relevant it is, in all of it’s’ forms, to each one of our lives.
The taking of photographs is probably the most personal form of souvenir we collect. We strive to take that “perfect” picture that enables us to go home and recreate the story for our friends; with the perfection of the photo helping them relive and understand with us the significance of the experience. We long to capture that ultimate candid, the one that just spills emotion and whose lure is immediately identifiable for anyone. What can be ironic at times regarding photographic or film souvenirs are two things. The first being the high state of technology available to the photographer to enhance the picture in dozens of ways: speed, texture, black & white, etc. You would think that all of this technology and “work” would cut into the truly spontaneous aspect of capturing a moment. It often does. The other being a video camera. The discrepancy regarding video cameras is that they’re not able to portray entire experiences, nor are they able to capture the most distinct moments. They document a fragment of time; 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, mainly to insure we don’t miss something. More often then not, most of the images recorded become insignificant to us and what we actually end up doing is editing our own memories. Watching a video requires much greater involvement and patience for finding the moment or memory you are searching for. It has not the immediacy or simplicity that souvenir objects have. I have to admit; there is nothing more annoying then the people who spend their vacation experiencing it through a viewfinder. A sense of freedom and a sense of personal connection are lost when something is put in between. More time is spent recreating the memory then actually experiencing the creation of it.