Thursday, January 13, 2005

Other People's Photographs

For the last few years, Dave has collected photographs that he finds discarded, in trashcans and wherehaveyou. He says that they stand in for tourist photos, which I think we can take to mean: originating in a specific place, in a sense "taken" in that place, from that place, and somehow (both more and less than photographs one takes oneself) OF that place. These photographs are evidentiary in a way that personal photography has always wanted to be. That is, evidentiary in the precise way that people have ever wished they were (would that journalists' photos could finally tell the truth). They are literally the matter of their place of origin. The very stuff. Dave carries them away from that place like we carry away our own photos. Dave posts them on the internet like we post our own photos. Could we dream a situation where, looking through our own holiday snaps, the scene of a beach recently visited shows a person we don't recognise, someone who has slipped into our photo? And a conjoined scene wherein we look at Dave's trashcan photos and think that maybe we see someone we know, the likeness of our mother's aunt, a cousin? Then, what would be the difference?

-kris
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