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Moments are fleeting.  By the time you’ve even processed that a moment is occurring, it has faded into the past.  From there, they coalesce into a jumble of memories, with the mundane and the daily negativities vanishing to leave behind the best and most impactful times.  We play these in our heads over and over, and they age like good wine into a beautiful nostalgia.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

The evanescence of these moments is part of why I am so addicted to photography.  Pictures help preserve these memories, and they are the key that bring me back to remember details I otherwise would have forgotten.

This is what makes my photographs so precious.  Even as my style has evolved over the years from simple snapshots to the artistic, they still serve the purpose of encapsulating my past.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about nostalgia lately.  Why are we so drawn to it?  Why do we revel in those meandering visits down Memory Lane?  Why does that appear more attractive than forming new, amazing memories that have every potential to surpass those previously experienced?

© Brianna Shade 2011
See the cyclone?

My theory is that nostalgia is a known positive.  It is one’s past, distilled into just the happiest memories.  Those recollections are further amplified by their nostalgic status, to where they’re being recalled as being better than they actually were – how many times have you rewatched a childhood favorite movie as an adult, only to be disappointed?  It’s kind of like how emotions and sensations are amplified in dreams.

This is still one of my favorite pictures.  It isn’t the best compositionally, and I obviously didn’t even take it (thanks, fellow tourist!), but it invokes so many happy memories of that day.

The mind is an amazing thing.  Our brains want to convince us we’ve had a happy life, so they record our pasts through rose-colored glasses, and those memories sweeten over time.


Interestingly, photography doesn’t change that.  You would think a picture would be hard evidence closer to reality than what my mind remembers.  While that’s true, the essence of a day isn’t replaced by the moments in those photographs; it grows from the moments between.  Having pictures simply means I develop a richer nostalgia from those spaces – gaps that are smaller and more frequent.

This makes me love my hobby even more.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

I’m constantly excited for the next adventure, and I’m building an incredible past that’s hopefully more happy nostalgia than not.

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