Friday, April 24, 2009

Mementos and memories

I used to be so sure of myself with the knowledge that the memories you bring back with you from a vacation are incomparably more valuable than the souvenirs and photographs you take. Ok, the essence of it is probably still true, but the importance of tangible proof of experience shouldn't be understated!

I spent one whirlwind day in 2005 touring New York City with my family. I could enumerate the places we went, and the first thing that comes to mind is the memory of the cold wind in my face, and buying cheap sidewalk sunglasses that didn't quite fit.

40°44'54"N 73°59'08"W
Tuesday, May 17, 2005, 2:23 PM (EST)

But then I take a look at this picture. Just look at it! I almost can't believe I was actually there.

There are tons of better pictures of skyscrapers in New York City, and tons of better pictures taken from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. But being able to look a picture like this with the knowledge that this is the sight that I saw, and this is the picture that I took, and that I stood right there at that spot at that instant and looked down upon the majesty that is this scene-- it's like the memory of it is reaching out from the past and shaking my consciousness to relive the moment and realize, my God, I really was there after all.


  1. Nice pic! Now try making a Google Earth PhotoOverlay with it. :-)

  2. Haha... Prediction: Someday standard digital cameras will come with built-in GPS that will embed geographic coordinates data into photos, and making a Google Earth overlay will be a one step process. You'll see...

  3. Mike, that prediction is on its way: geocoded photos (look it up). The most prominent right now is the iPhone. There are privacy issues regarding this, and I've seen how knowing the location of an incriminating photo can lead to personal ruin. However, if you're not doing anything suspicious, there should be no reason to worry.