Brain Food #514

A box of ten photographs

Thoughts of the day

Scientists have identified neurons inside the brain that help it forget, the act of forgetting leaving room for that of remembering (you can read the entire article here if you are feeling curious and leisurely).

As our devices continue to increase in memory, whether onboard or on the cloud, to sustain all the memories we cannot retain, are we being complacent with the memories we also create? One cannot have enough, but we rarely stop and think of how many we can hold onto.

A physical photo album has finite space, a phone or computer library can stretch to infinity. How many photographs of a life, or a period in one’s life, are enough?

For photographer Diane Arbus, the number was 10. A box of ten photographs was a small portfolio of photographs she took throughout her career, compiled by the artist herself, just a short time before she died. It featured inside Artforum magazine in 1971, establishing photography’s status as an art form.

“They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you.”
—Diane Arbus, 1971


Arbus’s ten photos. Which ten would you choose for yours?


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