Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Photographs, diaries, snapshots

I was talking with my friend Neil the other day. He said he was shooting after a funeral, in order to have some sort of memory of the even happening at all, and that people were most surprised of this. Somehow, the function of photographs to be reminders of events seems to be fading, slightly... it doesn't come up as the first thing in most people's minds when asking why do they take pictures. Everything goes faster. The diaries are uploaded on facebook and they are massive collections of snapshots, compared to those big books we used to have before, which due to sheer size had to be somehow edited down (and on which the events would be written down). Also, I have the feeling that the photographer himself is more self aware nowadays when shooting. If you check flickr, you'll see that lots of people that shoot daily life diaries have either an explicit or implicit artistic presumption. The thing photographed has to produce an artistic result that is greater than the thing photographed. Back in the day, when you took holiday photographs, the circle of people you shared them with was small. This lead to some unpretentious gems. Maybe the attitude to photography (by photographers) will not bring these back.

I probably wouldn't have noticed this if I had not been sailing through 70's and 80's snapshots in flickr. Rarely anybody takes photographs like these anymore. Some work amazingly well. The photographer is slightly on the shade, and the subject is well delivered through a rich composition. Some of my favourites come from the archives of Harald Hauesler:

These are from 1962 Familie Kramer.


Arcady Genkin said...

With regards to shooting at funerals, I agree with Martin Parr's opinion that, most of the time, photography is propaganda, and family albums are a prime example of that.

There is an opinion that, with time, any picture gains not only documentary, but also an artistic merit. Myself I find it so hard to believe that today's Facebook snapshots in 30 years are going to look as interesting as many pictures from the 70s look today. But my wife thinks that I'm wrong. Go figure.

Arcady Genkin said...

These are very nice samples of great family album material you posted here. All of the FA stuff that I see around my family and friends tends to be boring ego shots.

[terrorkitten] said...

These are great, I agree with you in that we hardly ever see stuff taken in this style these days...all that's left is to discover them at car boot sales etc!

Must talk to my mother...suyre she has a tin of these somewhere...negatives thrown away....such a vivid memory back then...60's/70's prints came back from the chemist...negs in the bin!

Harald said...

More of such Photos you'll find in the Galleries of Harald Haeusler

Harald Haeusler