Mental Photography is the second of the two new challenges I’m undertaking this week. As with the brain training Memory Challenge, it has to do with improving brain function through precise, active use of the old grey cells. I’ll definitely be more brainy by the end of the week…if that’s even possible :-)

What is Mental Photography?

Mental Photography is a term I’ve invented (or possibly not, I’m in Bolivia right now with such poor and occasional Internet that research is off the table) to describe the act of taking a picture with your mind, instead of a camera. There’s a double bonus there, truly living in the moment whilst simultaneously developing a rich suite of memories.

This challenge was partly inspired by a great French novel which I skim read whilst studying for my French ‘A’ Level. As I remember it (again, I didn’t verify this due to Bolivian wifi speeds) in Albert Camu’s L’Etranger, the lead character Meursault survives a hefty turn in prison by imagining into his sparse surroundings objects from his home, complete with exquisite details. Meursault’s incarceration flies by as he leaves his jail cell behind to mentally amble round his apartment. Though I hope to avoid prison, I’d love to be able to call on such a vivid memory bank when life becomes dull, and I believe that Mental Photography – along with my Memory challenge – is a meaningful push in that direction.

10 mental photographs

Remember that thing we used to do at rock concerts instead of holding up our devices to record the moment? No, me neither, but older and wiser people tell me that it’s actually possible to focus your mind on a single event, capturing the details with your brain instead of your rubbish phone camera, and ‘saving’ the moment for future reflection. It’s possible, I’m told to even go on and ‘share’ your mental photograph with people as an anecdote during ‘face-to-face’ contact. I know, I know, it all sounds very odd, but in the interests of not missing the next unforgettable event, this week I’m getting rid of the camera and am going to attempt to capture at least 10 mental photographs, and then share some of them with you.

Sunrise on my LCD

I realised it was time to turn to Mental Photography last week as I watched an incredible sunrise from the tiny Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca. I could show you the picture, but that´d kinda defeat the object. As the sky reddened over the distant mountains and the waters of the lake began to shimmer, I found myself more intent on viewing this spectacular natural wonder via the screen of my camera instead of using my own eyes. I’d gotten up ridiculously early, was huddled on a steep Bolivian hillside in the freezing cold, and now I was missing out on watching a sunrise on the very island which the Incas believed the sun was actually born. All in the name of photography? Oh crud, time for a rethink.

Mega brain vs. mega pixels

This challenge is the flip reverse of another of my Weekly Challenges, One Amazing Photo. In the very early days of My Year In Flux, I challenged myself to become a better photographer in just 1 week. In the months since then, I’ve visited some incredible places and taken in the region of 3000 photos. That’s too many. This week I’m downing the camera. I promise to take zero photographs and am aiming instead to capture the great moments of the coming week through the wonderful lens of my mental camera.

This is a Weekly Challenge. I am undertaking a new challenge every week as part of My Year In Flux, that´s 52 new skills and experiences in just 52 weeks. To read about other Weekly Challenges I´ve completed, such as meditation and turtle conservation, have a wander over to this part of the site.