New York

Why do we look at photographs?

Looking up at Franklin Street in Tribeca

A photograph is a moment of our time in life, a brief slice of happening. It’s the capturing of a memory, holding far more detail than we can ever comprehend…the way the light looked, the way it felt to be there. Sometimes, if the photograph is good enough, you can smell the air, feel it along your skin.

You can look at a good photograph and feel it come alive, the image dancing into a mirage of your memories – are they real? are they fact? – blurring the lines between what is my remembering and what is yours, what is a dream and what is your own reality.

I’ve been here before…or have I? I look at this photograph and I hear my heels click on the cobblestone walkway. I am sure I was here. In heels? Perhaps not…that’s something I’ve only dreamt about.

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  • Erica M

    And sometimes, a photo can be so good that one can visualize themselves there without ever having to be there.


  • Beatriz

    Photographs can be beautiful memories! I’m passioneted about it and I walk through the streets and even when I don’t have my machine with me my eyes are always capturing beautiful images and fixing them as a photography.

  • Tarragona IN

    I dream with photograph too. It happens to me the same with airports, an instant where a lot of people meet in a couple of minutes, and then continue their lives, they cross their lifes, and I imagine what they are going to do next or what are they like. With a photograph I can dream more 😉 I’m a dreamer

    • I know exactly what you mean, I am too…

  • Sara Pereira

    i think we look at photographs so we can see that one moment me either missed or wish we could have again.

    i shoot mainly in black and white and only recently did i start shooting in colour. it was around that time that my dreams went from being in black and white to coloured ones.

  • I really love this description of photography. I think people underestimate it’s value, and don’t always consider it an art, which is totally is!

  • Sara

    Sweet description… :)

  • Jamie–I love getting to see your perspective on the things. I think this is a perfect description of why we photograph moments. Hope you’re having a great Monday!

  • Michelle

    LOVE this post. beautiful words. you captured this thought perfectly.

  • candace

    i love this post for the meaning. my husband and I just came bk from celebrating an over due honeymoon. we were able to capture many memories. I am looking forward to printing them out. do you print out your images.
    thank you – your admirer in Houston, tx

  • Abi

    I love this post (and the picture looks like the flats from FRIENDS!) I agree you can definitely feel a photo come alive! Abi :)