In few hours I will fly towards a city I have visited more than five years ago: Firenze, Italy. All that is left in my memory after seeing hundreds of other places in the meantime is this: few colourful shapes, the strong scent of coffee and his hand touching my shoulder. Weird enough: although I took hundreds of pictures of that place, I never went back to look at them. And this got me thinking: how many times do we actually check the tons of digital material we have stored? Maybe is time for a clean-up.
In the era of smart phones and digital cameras, we forgot how careful we clicked when the film had only 32 positions. Not that I am a preacher of vintage (I also really love technology), but interesting enough the more we got, the less we care….
We just click and move on. At the end of the day, one moment, one memory can be so much more precious than 100 photographs taken in the rush of the moment.
I don’t remember the last time I went back on my phone to look at the pictures I took during my trips. Sometimes they are too many, sometimes they are too painful, sometimes I just find them unimpressive and boring after a while.
But I do remember and always go back to the album I got with my family photos. I always check them to remind myself how my grandfather looked like and to admire my grandma’s beauty when she was in her 30s’. These 10 pictures I got carefully stored seem so much more valuable than anything else…
4 cameras and hundreds of pictures
Going back to Firenze, few weeks ago, I booked my plane tickets and, at the same time, I tried to remember what did I do the last time I was there. I have tons of photographs, but when I went and looked over them, it seemed like they were taken by a stranger.
Nothing reminded me of my moments in that city. There were just some buildings (beautiful and colourful, is true), some beautiful streets (really, have I really been in that place?) and pictures from the museums (David remains impressive). Hundreds of pictures, taken back then with one big camera, one pocket camera and two smart phones…
The most precious memory
But now allow me to tell you what I remember from that trip, the most vivid memory that none of the four cameras has spotted….
On that morning, hand in hand, we walked in silence; he was never too talkative in the early hours and I got used with that. It was about 10:00 a.m. and the heat was already unbearable. We stopped in front of a cafeteria with two tables outside, we quickly drank an expresso and shared a gelato and some looks. We took off and two corners down, we ended up right in front of Ponte Vecchio. I shrieked with happiness.
I remember the smell of burning asphalt and the vivid colours, the white umbrellas and the chevalets, the paintings, the art galleries. I also remember how patient he was, how he helped me chose a little pendant and then carefully attached it to my bracelet.
I also remember getting lunch on one of those terraces with typical Italian red tablecloths, with much laughter, a huge bowl of pasta and some lemonade.
Curate your camera content (and maybe also your past)
As I am strolling down the memory lane, I realise my life is full of beautiful memories; moments that no camera will ever manage to snap. These are moments that only I can bring back to light.
I also realise how heavy the memory of a phone can be. Therefore I started a difficult process of curating everything that I have clung on for the past years and years and years.
And, all of a sudden, there is more space. And I am not talking only about the memory of my iPhone, but also the virtual space in my over-worked mind and broken heart. I am making space for new pictures and eventually, new memories.
More and more, I strive for simple things. And this is definitely an exercise towards simplicity, one I would advice anyone to do at least once in a while. The result is amazing, if not for yourself, at least for your camera’s memory.
Firenze, 2017, show me what you got!!!
These are the only pictures that survived and that’s OK 🙂