Effects of a Photograph

People take photographs for many reasons. For the most part, people take pictures to record an event in their past. They are most commonly taken at big events like a wedding or a family vacation. Others take pictures so they do not forget the past. I was never interested in pictures. I always hated posing for one, never looked through photo albums made by family or friends, and never actually spent more than ten seconds looking at an individual shot.   In fact, before writing this essay, I've never looked at the countless photo albums on Facebook   with pictures of me. When I started looking for a picture to write about, I had no idea what I   was looking for. No picture had ever been “special” to me. However, when I uncovered this particular photograph not only was I taken in by the breathtaking scenery, a thousand things started running through my head. That was when I realized what a photograph has the potential to do. They make one remember exactly what was happening the moment the picture was taken. They can overflow the senses with sights, smells and sounds. Photos can bring back memories that were in the distant past and make you feel connected to your past.
Before I describe this photograph in any detail, I should give some background on the circumstances under which it was taken. For thirteen months I lived in Chile as an exchange student. It was by far the most exciting thirteen months of my life. I travelled throughout the country, even across the border into Argentina, Peru and Brazil. All without parents. Out of the hundreds of pictures I have of my time there, this one picture elicits the strongest of emotions. All these fond memories I have of what seems to be a past life far off in the distance came rushing back.
This picture was taken in Punta Arenas, Chile on January 17, 2006. I was on an organized exchange student vacation to the southern-most city in the world, Punta Arenas. There were twenty-three exchange student and two Chilean chaperones....