On and Off Campus Blog: Capturing moment and memories through photography

April 29, 2024

By: Hailey Jiang ‘26

As I sit down to write this, I have 9,568 photos and 749 videos in my camera roll (although it’s
important to note that I just deleted about 500 photos to save storage). My photos app takes up
68 of the 128 gigabytes on my phone. I think it’s safe to say I love taking photos.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a hoarder. I don’t know how to let go. I have travel
pamphlets from places I visited eight years ago and the tea bag from the first cup of tea I ever
drank. I’m the same way with memories. Time only moves forward. Once a moment has passed,
it only has two options: it can become a memory, or it can be forgotten forever. As I grow older,
I’ve found myself desperately grasping at every moment, trying to wrap my hands around their
fleeting edges in hopes of keeping them all.

Now, what does photography have to do with my hoarding tendencies? Photographs are
my way of finally catching the elusive moment and keeping them forever in my memory. They
are proof that this moment existed long enough for me to capture it, that it was worthy enough to

I took Intro to Photography last semester and loved it. Black-and-white photography is so
different compared to color photos. The absence of color forces you to focus on what’s in the
picture, on what moment was captured.

One day in November, I decided to walk outside to take more photos. I circled around the
Upper School campus, until I reached the pathway between the cemetery and science wing,
where I’d hardly gone before. Intrigued, I looked to my right and peered through the brown fence. Inside the enclosure was a short black trash barrel and a stack of cardboard boxes. I quickly snapped a picture and went back inside.

A week later, my negatives were ready. I decided to enlarge the photo I’d taken through
the brown fence, although I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until I finished the print that I
realized just how much I liked it. It was a small moment in time, one that seemed ordinary in the
moment. Now, it’s memorialized on the kitchen fridge, next to my cats and my sixteenth
birthday party. To the left of my photo is a trash can. Printed on the side of the can are the words
“SAVE THAT STUFF.” How ironic.

In December, I submitted my photo to the Scholastic Arts Awards and received an
Honorable Mention for it. In May, my photo will also be showcased in the Secondary School
Exhibition hosted by the Griffin Museum of Photography. One captured moment has led to many
more moments I hope to cherish for years to come.

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