Visual Memorabilia

Recently, I thought about all the visual memorabilia people have collected during our time in China. Many of us captured this semester’s moments with an iPhone, personal camera, or what I call high-tech cameras, i.e. Chai Lu’s Canon. Two uses of such visual products of our time in China will prove useful for the future. The photo below was taken on our first night in Shanghai.


Our photographs can be used to tell others about the many great experiences we had. Of course these experiences are not limited to the group trips. We have to include the weekend party photos and the everyday photos taken around Shanghai. Without these photos, it might be more difficult for people to understand the unique experience that is studying abroad in China. Some might say that “unique” should be used with caution, and I think in this case, I have done that. This has truly been a unique experience.

The photos will also be used to recall the time spent in China. When I’m eighty years old, I don’t expect to remember everything, and that is when I will use my photos to relive my past. Isn’t that what we all do?

There is something about the visual. While words can tell a story, the use of photos or video can further tell a story for better clarity. This week Benito and I made a video detailing the difference between market shopping in Taipei and market shopping in Shanghai. Just in case I ever forget the differences, I will have the video we created to help jog my memory. Anthropologists use photos and videos to capture everyday life. Tourists do the same. Anyone can snap a quick bit of culture and it’s instantly preserved.