The Fate of Photo’s

Do most pictures matter beyond the life of the photographer? Seeing this pile of slides which were likely someones photographic life work caused me to reflect on what my photography means to me and what it might mean after I’m gone. I can’t categorize my photography into one single purpose. I use photography for several different reasons; I record my family life and my children growing up, I make images that I hope have some meaning beyond a simple glance and stand on their own as art, I create reference material for other art and I create images just for the fun of it. Of primary importance to me are those family images. I have a large collection of images that my father took of us growing up and I value them dearly, and now the images of my own family are just as important. By creating thousands of images am I creating a curatorial nightmare for anyone looking at my images later on? How are they to know my intent when I switch between purposes continually. Maybe it’s time that in addition to my regular back ups I do some selective backing up of the images that are most important to me, so later on if their fate is to wind up in a box at an antique shop maybe they will be organized.

I always find it strange and somewhat sad to find lost family photo’s, that at some point no one was left that cared enough to keep them and the peoples lives that they represent going. In the past, say 100 years ago, it wasn’t really that hard as there were few pictures of any one person taken in there life time. Now that there are thousands of images of many of us what is the future of these pictures? Who will determine what is important enough to keep and what will be lost. And will someone three generations from now really need or care what I looked like or thought was interesting enough to photograph. So I think the best I can do, if my intention is to have a photographic legacy, is to select some gems and make it easy to preserve them.

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