The power of photography – evoking our memories with a visual cue

By 17 March 2021Out and about...

Do you have a photo that you look at frequently or even occasionally? One that takes you on a journey back to that moment in time, though in the present?

Do you remember a specific moment in your life that you were fully immersed in nature and truly in the moment? It may have been at home or away, on a short break or an epic holiday. And it may have been anywhere in the world.

Sitting atop a cliff looking out over the Norwegian Sea and Arctic ocean to the North Pole, Nordkapp NorwayI was browsing one of my favourite travel photo albums recently and many memories were triggered, especially this one…

In 1997, on a crisp summer morning in Norway – it was a great day for an epic solo trek to Nordkapp (North Cape), from Honningsvag where I was staying – 35kms each way (by road).

The time of year was summer with 24-hours of daylight every day. Knowing that no darkness would set in during my walk no matter how long it took, I set off on my epic adventure. Not following any precise path, I followed the road for some of the way though I traversed overland for the majority of the time, to the northern coastline of a remote and truly spectacular part of the world.

In this photo is a younger me, sitting on the edge of the world looking out across the Norwegian Sea and Arctic Ocean. While doing so, I witnessed the sun setting on that day, followed by it immediately rising again to mark the start of a new day. That is, as the sun hit the horizon, it rose again just a few seconds later.

During my walk, I encountered very few others walking where I did, other than a few residents in a village that I wandered through, and a Sami nomad ushering his mob of reindeer across the countryside.

My memories and feelings of this experience are evoked with great clarity every time I see these photos. I close my eyes and visualise the clear sky, the crisp cool air, the open spaces, the sun lowering, the waves rolling and the distant horizon. I experience a sense of calm and serenity just like I did in that very moment – a feeling brought back into my present, all these years later.

The moral of this story…

Us humans are very visual creatures, and our memories are more effortlessly evoked by visual cues. When viewing our photos, our vision senses are activated sending a message to the brain that helps us remember the scenario and our story. So, it’s worth taking the time to create special images that you can look back on in years to come.

Photography has the potential to make an experience more enjoyable by being truly present in the moment while taking your photos. Just like many others I’m sure, I have built up a rather large collection of photos and photo albums over my life so far.

I reminisce with far more clarity knowing that I took the time to slow down and enjoy the process of taking the photo in the first place. That is, spend time capturing unique images, not just snapshots!

From sunset to sunrise in just a few moments
The Midnight Sun – Nordkapp, Norway
(from my personal photo album – in the way we used to keep them)
The Midnight Sun, Nordkapp, Norway

👉 👉 👉 Coreena hosts a series of Women-only Photography Escapes in Tasmania, so you can connect with nature through photography with like-minded female photo-enthusiasts. While there’s an opportunity to enjoy selected walks, there’s no strenuous hikes involved. Each experience is meaningful and hassle-free so you can genuinely escape from the busyness of everyday life. For more information contact Coreena by phone or email or visit our dedicated experience page

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