Tuesday, May 18, 2004

On photographs

Yesterday I went to the Photographer's Gallery to see the Hou Bu & Xu Xiaobing: Mao's Photographers and Li Zhensheng: Red-colour New Soldier: A Chinese Photographer's Odyssey through the Cultural Revolution exhibitions. Official photography, official histories. Beautiful photos of cavalry crossing the desert, and platoons of small-footed women soldiers. Formal portraiture, and intimate family photos. Faces in triumph and joy. Thousands of copies made their way into people's homes, and some were never seen.


I'm staying in central London with hundreds of university students enjoying their first Great European Odyssey (a.k.a. The Grand Tour of Western History and Culture). As I sit on the street drinking my coffee, I ask them where they come from and where they're going. (An Australian guy and Canadian girl, recently fallen in love: "We're saving our money to stay longer in Prague." Me: "Prague? I hear Riga is the new Prague.") I see travellers both struggling with maps and enjoying being lost. But there is one thing I do not see. No one is taking pictures. I ask them if they have cameras. "I don't take pictures," they say. "I will remember," they tell me.


Traces of India: Photography, Architecture, and the Politics of Representation


Photographs and Memories by Douglas Rushkoff (and the comments)

But what about the materiality of photos?


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