Monday, August 8, 2011

Photographs and Fading Glory

Photography has always been a powerful craft with its suggestion of life. Its "I was there" moment. The print is the proof.

Great images by Matthew B. Brady and the civil war. Edward S. Curtis for his documentation of Native American and the American West. Lewis Hines, the socialist / photographer whose images brought social reform, particularly to child labor laws here in the United States.

These photographers were striving to bring a true eloquence to their work as they themselves seem to toil in isolation.  Each one speaking his cultural story directly and indirectly becoming ones own history. Their appreciation grows as their history fades and is overlapped by other layers of visible life.

In the  above photograph of Uncle Sam what it striking is that although he smiles - the weather is brisk, by indications of the coats worn and the fluttering of his trousers -  there is a  lack of emotion on many of the spectators faces if not complete disregard. A ticker - tape parade  is normally a joyous gathering.

We all have an old print of family , friends, of days gone by that my be yellowing or fading which we hold dearly.  It is photography's strength to reference just how much has been lost or replaced.

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