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We all take photos on our devices for various reasons, but perhaps the biggest reason is to store and reminisce about our life’s memorable events, people, or places. Some may prefer not to keep photographs of their past as they might remember the bad more than the good. However, some may believe that pictures capture and remind them of their personal experiences that shape their identity. What makes photographs so valuable is their variety as they can store memories of an event, friend, loved ones, or one’s personal landmark.
When we think of landmarks in New York City, we automatically think of universal landmarks, such as the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, or the Brooklyn Bridge. They can be location identifiers as it is easy to get lost in Manhattan; they can be where we build memorable moments with our loved ones. However, why are these landmarks considered landmarks in the first place?
They are landmarks because they represent and hold pieces of the history of a country or culture. For instance, Eiffel Tower isn’t just a popular European attraction as it also symbolizes freedom from the French Revolution or liberation in WW2. That’s what personal landmarks are: it contains a piece of our personal history. It can be a place where we have built memorable moments with our loved ones. It can be a place where we have thoughts of remembrance about our past. It can also be a place where we are able to witness our personal growth from a teenager to a grown-up.
This gallery combines the idea of photography and landmarks into one. It is a gallery that displays my personal landmarks that I loved or have loved in my eight years in New York City. Some of them are well-known NYC landmarks that many might’ve visited before, whereas others might be unrecognizable.
Even though I already have had past pictures of these places, I decided to revisit them for various reasons. First and foremost, it was to retake photographs for the gallery. However, it was also to look back at my life and most memorable moments. For instance, visiting my high school gave me “flashbacks” on countless all-nighters I went through because of exams. Furthermore, revisiting my first NYC neighborhood brought back all the difficult moments my family and I suffered trying to settle in a new city, culture, and community.
Due to COVID-19, we haven’t been able to socialize as much; our memories are becoming more distant and foreign. Through this gallery, I sincerely hope everyone takes time to think about their own personal landmarks. For me, it was a healing time to forget about the struggles or hardships in my current life. How did I look at that time? Who were my friends at that time? How did I have fun at that time? Therefore, I hope this gallery serves as a punctum, reevaluating our personal values and identity. Lastly, I hope this gallery reminds us of how essential happiness is in their lives, especially during COVID-19 and other tragic events happening in the world.