Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Aging photographs

USC is wonderfully full of very fake-antique pieces of sculpture - here are some rather Venetian lions.   It seems only appropriate to manipulate them through faux-photographic (pho-fauxtographic?) techniques.

But this mock aging is very shallow compared with the resonances of the destruction and flaking and dissolving that's taken place among the photographs rescued after the Japanese tsunami earlier this year.   There's a compelling video in tomorrow's Guardian of workers and volunteers in the Fujifilm lab, peeling photographs apart, and delicately washing the grime off them, and drying them or putting them between sheets of plastic.   The smallest fragments of buildings or faces are being preserved if at all possible, because, as one of the people interviewed says, one never knows quite what's going to be meaningful, as a shred of memory, to whom.   And then the video shows people searching, searching among all the orphaned photographs, trying to piece little parts of their lives and recollections together.   It's a tremendous testimony to the belief in the power that photographs have as repositories of identities and personal pasts.

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