Making photos is forward-looking. We take a photo with the expectation that it will survive into the future. It is a time capsule. When we used to print our photos we would often write snippets of stories on the backs of them. The names of characters, dates, sometimes other clever details or jokes.
Psychologist Robert Akeret writes, “Many of these messages [words/captions on the back of pictures, notes, diaries] were committed to paper with at least some consciousness of addressing a future self. ‘Remember me as I am now!’ they seem to say.”
Making photos is forward-looking, but enjoying photos is backward looking. When we look at a photo we may instantly recall so many details about the moments surrounding the photo itself.