The summer I turned twenty-six, I stopped taking pictures. This wasn’t just out of character—this was abnegation of character, so foundational was my belief in a photographic clenched fist around the past. I have always been a writer, but I’ve never been a competent diarist; until that summer, I had measured out my life with photo sleeves.
Then I stopped. And, because this was 2004, no one much noticed. This was before Facebook and Snapchat, before better living through Instagram filters, happiness as #humblebrag. It was before digital backups and the cloud, and because I was the kind of person who planned ahead for what I would rescue first from my apartment in a fire, I gave my photo albums—material and irreplaceable—pride of place by the door.
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