In ‘Thinking fast and slow’ Daniel Kahneman discusses the relationship between memory and experience. Kahneman distinguishes two ‘selves’, one which experiences, and one which remembers. An experience is interpreted into thoughts and feelings by our remembering self. He goes on to say that it is memories rather than experiences that determine our actions and the way we feel. If you want to see this research presented by Kahneman at TED in 2010, I have embedded the video below for you to watch.
I’m interested in the experience of viewing a photo, so applying this principal would be interesting when looking at one. We experience the photo through memory even though we potentially have no experience of what is depicted.