Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram were essentially developed with the vision of capturing and posting pictures. These pictures, which often represent some very significant moments of our everyday life, are consequently liked and commented on, the basic features of any social media platform. But what happens to those pictures after they have been through this ritual?
Lynn Hershman in her essay "The Fantasy Beyond Control" calls a captured image a "relic of the past". For her, everything needs interaction in order to survive the atrocities of time. Because a captured image cannot be interacted with, because its static nature cannot be changed, it remains nothing more than a souvenir that the past has allowed us to keep.
Therefore, the pictures on our social media feed are also like souvenirs. They are much like those actual remnants that we must have brought from the places we traveled to and that now rest in some drawer at our home. How often do we open that drawer and look at what's inside? How often do we scroll down our feed trying to find a lost memory?
These "relic(s) of the past" wait for their time, a time so little yet abundant with thoughts, memories, and nostalgia. A time when we open the drawer and cherish what's inside, a time when our past finally meets our present. The act of scrolling down our feed is thus a short period where our past and present are one and the same, something Homi Bhabha calls the "liminal space". Just like a set of stairs belongs to both the floors it connects, the period of scrolling down, or opening that drawer, belongs to both our past and the present.
So, to answer the question "What does it mean to capture an image?", we must first experience the process of capturing, waiting, and revisiting. We might still struggle for an answer, but one thing is for certain, it is more than just likes and comments. It is an extraordinary act of timeless cultivation of memories.