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Where Have All The Photos Gone?

johnriley1uk > johnriley1uk Blog > Where Have All The Photos Gone?
03/06/2012 - 3:17 PM



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I love digital photography and the immediate way we can all share images on the web. It makes competition entries easier, it makes giving talks easier, it's even better quality in many respects.

Ah, but just recently I was invited to join a new Facebook group (Irlams o'th' Height) which is all about the place I was born and raised. So, having been asked if I had any photos, it was back to the albums. And there are the pictures, many if not most in black and white, good ones, poor ones, rejects. But suddenly there's a new context. The image of a tiny person in front of the buildings is suddenly a good image again, because it shows all the old demolished shops in their prime. And the person in front doesn't intrude...the actual subject matter has reversed because of what we want from the picture.

But even the holiday shots are now special. I've annotated them all, the dates are there, I've even noted what cameras and lenses were used. Wow, there's a lot of history in these.

Now fast forward to the present day and there's barely a print in sight. OK, there's stuff on Facebook, ePHOTOzine, etc., by the bucketload, but there are no prints. No albums. Nothing a visitor could pick up out of curiosity. We don't usually wander up to other people's computers, boot them up and have a look to see if there's anything interesting.

There's been huge progress, but in some ways we have lost our way. Very few of our artistic, wondrous creations will stir even a twitch of interest in 20 years time, even if someone bothers to look at them. Personal, family pictures, local scenes of long lost things, those are the stuff that will be wanted. I wonder where they will be?

Comments

Steve-T
Steve-T  751 forum posts England66 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2012 - 3:31 PM

Good thoughtful blog - thanks for sharing your views. Yep I broadly agree with your with your sentiment - digital does have a very transcient nature. We quickly move from one photograph to the next whereas the print was a bit longer in the making and may be had more thought applied before the shutter was clicked. However, in the realtively short time digital has been around we have an extraordinary record of our time. I think about the sheer diversity of this record - even looking at just one day across the sites you mention! In addition, I think people still catalogue and value their photographs but in a different way - for example I can think about the numerous times I have looked though albums on phones etc. I have also has the pleasure of looking at people's photobooks which I think is the best cross over between the traditional print album and the digital age.

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