New Yorker Photo Essay

New Yorker Photo Essay-87
Henkel found “a photo-taking-impairment effect”—photographing the object led students to remember fewer objects and fewer details than those who simply observed the art.In a second study, she asked students to observe the objects and then to photograph them using the camera’s zoom.

Henkel found “a photo-taking-impairment effect”—photographing the object led students to remember fewer objects and fewer details than those who simply observed the art.In a second study, she asked students to observe the objects and then to photograph them using the camera’s zoom.

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A study by Linda Henkel, which appeared in last year, tried to measure the effect of photography on memory.“Falling Man” came from the curiosity generated by the photograph of that same title, by Richard Drew, a haunting image of a survivor from the attack on the Twin Towers.“Underworld” was sparked by juxtaposed headlines in the New York : “I saw these two headlines, literally, in a pictorial way,” De Lillo said, “the way they were matched, each followed by three columns of type.That is why I have found myself so willing to put down my notebooks and rely fully on my photo stream.My photographs are a more useful first draft than my attempted prose was, a richer archive than the pages of my binders.I can’t remember exactly when I stopped carrying a notebook.Sometime in the past year, I gave up writing hurried descriptions of people on the subway, copying the names of artists from museum walls and the titles of books in stores, and scribbling down bits of phrases overheard at restaurants and cafés.It’s not that my memory improved but, instead, that I started archiving these events and ideas with my phone, as photographs.Now, if I want to research the painter whose portraits I admired at the museum, I don’t have to read through page after page of my chicken scratch trying to find her name.Photographs that may deaden the prose of a fiction writer might enliven the work of an essayist; the same photographs that enable the precision of the journalist might inspire the whimsy of a poet.Digital photography, endless and inexpensive, has made us all into archivists.

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