Monday, June 09, 2014

Alternative Histories of Photography: Documenting the World

Photographic history is a big, complicated subject.

So, without going too deeply into what is, I would like to repeat some key points from a lecture into this subject.

The lecture was by Dr Kelley Wilder (De Montfort University), put on by photography network Redeye at Manchester’s amazing and well-hidden Portico Library & Gallery.

Dr Wilder, who is co-editor of a forthcoming book about what has driven humans to document the world through photography, spoke about how some of the modern photographs and photography collections which are hailed as important today might not be those that are looked back on as important in the future.

She talked of the importance of everyday history of photography, images of what we do or eat on a daily basis. Images that are less iconic than those in photographic history (man walking on the moon, Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech) but perhaps more important in other ways.

This is what she said (paraphrasing) about the act of showing someone a photo: “Showing an image makes you talk. You talk about how it makes you feel. Film is different. Watching a film makes people shut up.”

It’s my opinion that this is the reason why images are so successful on social media platforms like Facebook. A photo is quick, convenient, and can have a huge impact on the viewer, albeit a few typed words replacing a spoken sentence.

NOTE: This is me with Dr Kelley Wilder.

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