Children’s Memories Built on Black and White

Google in black and whiteIs color something we remember? We use Google everyday, but can you remember the order of their colors?

Think back to your favorite dress or pair of shorts when you were growing up…can you remember the color? I think I can, but then I look back at old snap-shots and realize I can’t really remember. That sweater was white with speckles of blue and green, not green and brown. The old boat we would take fishing was blue, not red. Or maybe it’s just my gray hairs that help me forget color!

“A classic experiment on fast forgetting was carried out by Peterson and Peterson (1959). They asked participants to memorise a three-letter sequence, then count backwards in sets of threes. Participants were then asked to try and recall the three-letter sequence after different lengths of time counting backwards.

Participants did surprisingly poorly on this test. After only six seconds of counting backwards in threes, on average half of the original three letters had disappeared from memory. By the time participants had been counting backwards for 12 seconds, less than 15% of the original memory remained. Finally after 18 seconds it was all but gone.

This experiment clearly shows how quickly information leaks out of short-term memory.”
– How Quickly We Forget: The Transience of Memory (Click to read more)

One of the reasons our studio focuses on black and white photography for children and families is because it strips away all the distractions and leaves only what we remember: the beauty of the light playing across their faces, they way her hair ‘lit up’, how his eyes sparkled from the light of the Southern California ocean. These aren’t remembered in color. As color fades in memory, what remains is the essence. That is what I think we capture – the essence of the moment. Isn’t that what really matters, anyway? What you felt when the crisp winter wind rustled your hair and gave you goose-bumps, but the afternoon sun warmed your back. Or the sweet smell of melting marshmallows in hot cocoa. Our mind remembers those sensations more, and isn’t that what matters more than what color dress you wore?

Black and white photography sees that, captures that. Here’s some of my favorite children and family photos we took on location in Orange County in 2012:

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