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Memorable Photos...

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A study from MIT finds that landscape photographs are less memorable....
3 years ago, May 29th 2011 No: 1 Msg: #137392  
B Posts: 5,099

Researchers at MIT have created a computer algorithm to track which photos people remembered most, and they’ve found that portraits tend to trump landscapes in memorability.


Wired Report


Do you agree?
[Edited: 2011 Jun 02 04:11 - Ali:1 - link more obvious...]
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3 years ago, May 29th 2011 No: 2 Msg: #137403  
B Posts: 9,685
I disagree with it as a blanket rule.

That said, I've also seen some amazing portrait photos (many on TB) - and think that they can tell a story in the detail. Eg, the texture of the subject's skin, a certain look in their eyes, clothes/accessories they're wearing.....

Perhaps too, people might be reminded of someone they already know, giving the photo an 'anchor' in their memory. Reply to this

3 years ago, May 29th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #137405  
B Posts: 151
Yes for me on this one. It had something to do with our well developed face recognition/perception mechanism. From birth, the first image we learn to recognize is the face of our mother and then other family members and so on. There has been research that this ability might be innate.

Also, humans are social beings. We love to observe and interact with other people.They affect our lives in so many ways and leave an imprint in our memory and in our heart. So it's no surprise that we find portraits or pictures with people in them more memorable than landscape.

On a personal note, a beautiful landscape can be breath-taking and awe-inspiring, but it's just a setting. What makes a memorable photo for me is the life's essence it captured - the special moments, human nature, social conditions and events at a point in time at a certain place. And I doubt that there's any computer algorithm could ever compute that.
[Edited: 2011 May 29 11:49 - josworld:15287 ]
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3 years ago, May 31st 2011 No: 4 Msg: #137527  
I can agree.

We see a million images each day and for them to become memorable I think they must attach some meaning or emotion. If you show me a stunning photograph of Machu Picchu, my mother and the beach in Barbados where we got married they have feelings and memories attached and they are memorable.

If you show me an unknown person and an unknown landscape I believe I would be able to describe more detail about the person's face than the landscape. At least for me when I look at people's faces I see emotion and expression that I find fascinating. One of the reasons we travel is to meet new people and hear the stories of their lives. This holds great interest for us so I believe I can agree with this research.

My personal belief is that it is more difficult to photograph a person. To catch a glimpse of someone and wonder what they are thinking about... to wonder what there life is like. I also believe I am in the minority of this view because in our photography forums the photos of people rarely win photo of the week or gain much recognition-- most often they don't even make the short list. We have some photographers on this site who are excellent in capturing the essence of people. I would love to meet some of these people and spend an afternoon talking with them about their lives. I'd love to hear the stories....but that is what we are in search of when we travel and that may not be the norm.


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3 years ago, June 11th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #138146  
Definitely agree! A landscape photo captures the place, but a portrait captures the moment.

Both can be beuatiful, inspiring, or shocking, but a portrait has a better chance of being "worth a 1000 words". Reply to this

3 years ago, June 13th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #138265  
I think, photos that bring up feelings of desire are the most memorable. Especially if they also bring up feelings of hope or envy too. It seems to be the way advertising photos work.

Last year I was in Thailand sitting at a cafe by the beach. The sea was really rough, and a fine spray way constantly keeping my bikinied body cool, while a fresh sea breeze blew trough my hair, keeping the heat of the tropical sun at comfort level. As I sat there with my coconut shake, I though about how unlike this bathroom products, cosmetics... called sea breeze, sea minerals, with pictures of the sea etc on them are, but we still buy them because the suggestion of sun, sea and sand brings up feeling of how nice it would be.

I think photos with horrific scenes on them that bring up strong feelings of fear, anger... also imprint themselves on the memory. It is why I tend to pay attention to the warnings that the following contains graphic images. Reply to this

3 years ago, June 25th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #139194  
If there was one photo that I'd remember, its that Afghan girl who was on the cover of National Geographic. Yes, portraits are the most memorable. Reply to this

31 months ago, December 15th 2011 No: 8 Msg: #148868  
These are the 2 most memorable photos I have recently seen on TravelBlog because they bring back the feeling of some of travels best moments for me.





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31 months ago, December 15th 2011 No: 9 Msg: #148883  

31 months ago, December 16th 2011 No: 10 Msg: #148895  

Compare both of these and take another look tomorrow. Which one did you remember more details.

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31 months ago, December 27th 2011 No: 11 Msg: #149412  



This is a favourite 2011 TravelBlog discussion. If you have seen some good discussions in 2011, add them to the following thread.

Your 2011 TravelBlog favourites Reply to this

31 months ago, December 30th 2011 No: 12 Msg: #149542  

29 months ago, March 4th 2012 No: 13 Msg: #152769  

15 months ago, April 20th 2013 No: 14 Msg: #169522  
B Posts: 211
I have to agree, even though landscape photos are usually my favourite to gaze upon, the most memorable for me are the ones that capture local people doing local things. Here are some of mine.

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15 months ago, April 20th 2013 No: 15 Msg: #169525  

15 months ago, April 21st 2013 No: 16 Msg: #169567  
I just found this thread! I love it! I've had this discussion with several people over the years.

I'm on the side of portraits, for sure. I love all the examples posted here. Reply to this

15 months ago, April 22nd 2013 No: 17 Msg: #169584  
B Posts: 211

In response to: Msg #169522

ooof I just realized how self-promoting I was. yuck. Sorry. Deleting! Reply to this

15 months ago, April 22nd 2013 No: 18 Msg: #169587  
B Posts: 9,685
Ok, now I've dabbled a lot more in photography over the past 8 months I would like to amend my previous statement. Doing 365 Project has taught me how magical a person can make a photo - something that I think is even more fully appreciated when you are the one who has been there on the spot, and 'seen' the photo. Reply to this

15 months ago, April 22nd 2013 No: 19 Msg: #169588  

In response to: Msg #169584

No deleting. You posted some great photos.
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15 months ago, April 22nd 2013 No: 20 Msg: #169646  

In response to: Msg #169584

No way! I loved your post and the pics you chose made the point! Reply to this

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