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Visual Memory

Cell phones are everywhere today.  Everyone seems to have one.  I can’t imagine why a grade 6 child needs a cellphone, but some parent somewhere decided to give in and get them one.  Of the many functions on a cellphone, the one that I confess has been a point of ridicule in my life, is the pathetic excuse for a camera that has been plugged into my mobile communications device.  To me, a phone is a phone.  I don’t need the bells and whistles, particularly the ones that don’t work well.  It’s the classic paradigm of rather having one device that does one thing really well, than have one device that does nothing well.

You can imagine my thoughts when I opened a National Geographic camera guide and found an entire chapter dedicated to cell-phone photography.  “Are you serious?” I thought.  I have to admit however that since viewing the imperfections of my cell-phone camera as an artistic choice, I have had a lot more fun with it that I expected.  Probably the most useful aspects is as an aid to my hyper-visual memory.  I can create visual cues that trigger a part of my memory to recall and enhance an idea.

For instance, I am on the road a lot, traveling around the GTA to various photoshoots.  I see a lot of the city and its people.  Often times I see things that make me shake my head and say “What were you thinking?”

Other things that make you want to go back a find out what the story is.

Something creative that just speaks to you.


And other things that strike you as a great concept you want to shoot.



It’s the portability and the everpresence of my phone that makes it useful as a memory stimulus.  I doubt I’ll be printing anything from its little camera anytime soon, but it has become a useful contributor to my workflow, carrying inspiration and recording ideas rather than pixels.