In the digital age, memorization is a lost art. Remember a phone number? Pfff. Go back to 1980. A password? There’s an app for that. Friends’ birthdays? Facebook has you covered.

But at the World Memory Championships, the brute force power of the brain to store data is all that matters. This year the champion, Johannes Mallow of Germany, memorized a number with 2,245 digits in an hour and a number with 500 digits in five minutes (a new world record).

And those are just some of the feats he achieved. Along with some 75 other participants from two-dozen countries, Mallow was tasked with eight other memory exercises including: the hour cards category where competitors have 60 minutes to memorize as many full decks of cards as they can (Mallow memorized 1144 cards), the words category where participants have 15 minutes to memorize as many random words as possible (Simon Reinhard won that with 269 words), and the binary challenge where participants have 30 minutes to memorize a sequence of binary digits (Mallow strung together 3954 digits).

There to document this year’s “action” was photographer David Vintiner. Also based in London, Vintiner is an advertising and editorial photographer by day but says he’s often drawn to nerd culture when he’s pursuing personal work. And by nerd, he means those communities that are focused so intently on their interests that they don’t care what the outside world thinks.

“I think I admire their passion the most,” he says. “And I admire that they aren’t doing what they do for any other reason [than their passion].”

Read more, and see more images over @ Raw File!

(Source: Wired)