Monday, 24 May 2010
When you're out and about researching for articles (or any kind of writing), take a small camera with you, or just remember to use the one on your mobile phone, if you have one.
Having a notebook is great to be able to jot down thoughts and interesting facts, but sometimes a picture can help to re-awaken other thoughts and memories. Why have I included a picture I once took inside the flower marquee at the Shrewsbury Flower Show? Well, according to research by Nikon, almost half the people in Britain can recall a smell associated with a scene or location, just by looking at a picture of it. Nikon undertook the survey in 23 countries, and here in the UK, 47% of us said that a photograph can evoke the memory of a smell or other sense.
Looking at this picture above, triggered several memories, for me. The perfume when I walked into the marquee was overwhelming. The sweetness of the scents was exotic. One memory I do recall, is thinking, "these scents all work together." It always annoys me when I walk into a department store that all the fragrances (Chanel No5, Boss, Calvin Klein, etc) are shoved together in the entrance hall. When the fragrances all merge with one another, in my opinion, it creates one of the most unearthly stinks on the planet. I have to hold my breath as move through this department. And if I were one of the fragrant producers, I'd be a bit peeved. If I'd spent years and millions creating a delightful new fragrance, the last thing I'd want is for it to be battling it out with a Calvin Klein and a Davidoff less than a foot away. Man-made fragrances do not mix together at all well, but here, in this marquee, mother nature had produced wonderful individual scents, but scents that merged to create a wonderful super-scent too.
Another memory invoked by the picture is heat. The air inside was at least ten degrees hotter than it was outside (and the Shrewsbury Flower Show takes place in August.) I remember the beads of sweat erupting on my forehead, then merging to form a drip, running down my temple. I also remember the speakers inside the tent declaring the winners of the judging process, and a round of applause rippling through the marquee when the overall winner was announced.
So, next time you go out and about researching your ideas, don't forget to take a few pictures. Whist the visual reminders will be immensely important, the other sensual memory triggers will be pretty useful too.