Obviously I am biased. I love photography and photographs and portraits of humans. It's hard for me to explain why I feel they're so important, so it's super exciting when science comes up with a reason for me!
What is nostalgia? It’s why we still want to talk to our long-lost elementary-school best friend, all these years later. It’s why we salivate for grandma’s corn muffins even if we hate corn muffins. It’s why we all have that one book we love from when we were a teen, even if we now realize it's kind of silly. (Island of the Blue Dolphins anyone?) I don’t think anyone is immune to nostalgia’s charms — everything seems better, sweeter, and easier after you’ve already lived through it.
Sometimes, nostalgia feels like a silly indulgence, but according to new research reliving those good ol' days actually creates changes in the brain and provides physical pain relief.
From that perspective, my sense that a family portrait on the wall helps us weather life's stormy times isn't far-fetched at all. Photograph your kids when they're little, put those photos big on a wall and their teen years will be less… uh… painful. Science says so.
You can read the article, complete with unpronounceable parts of the brain, here.