A year ago today, I published my first blog post. I wrote about our own family photo albums as that seemed a natural starting point for a discussion on family photography (and equally importantly, the preservation of family photography), the premise and inspiration behind The Candid Eye. “Digital technology has resulted in a proliferation of photographs, but how many of them will our children be able to pick up?” I asked back then.
This and similar questions have occupied my mind over the year and it has been a fascinating experience reading, researching and writing around this topic. I can’t admit to being much nearer to finding a definitive solution to the problems of preserving our memorable moments for the future. All I know is that the photo above serves as a reminder of how quickly modern storage media become obsolete and unreadable.
We take the majority of our photos on our phones. Through channels such as Instagram and Snapchat we choose to converse in images rather than words, so as a matter of course pictures are, if not discarded completely, at least over-written in the mind, to be quickly replaced by the next transient capture. Where does that leave the notion of an archive, with all that implies in terms of curation and preservation? Maybe cloud storage is the answer after all, but what of the tactile quality of handling a book or contemplating a print? And what of the future cost of retrieval?
Photography in the family world of 2015 is constantly fluid and evolving, where the children themselves may well be active contributors to their own archive and the photo album plays only a small part in a larger multi-media universe. My objective is just to not have it forgotten altogether. On its first birthday I see The Candid Eye as occupying an analogue / digital middle ground - celebrating not just traditional processes but also the digital technology that makes many of those processes feasible on a small scale and relevant today. As a compelling example, who until recently could have imagined publishing a book in an edition of one?
“I’m not entirely sure where this journey will lead”, I wrote vaguely but I feel like I have at least taken a few steps down the road. And looking ahead down that road I have some points of interest coming up on the near horizon: the next generation’s view on photography; a paper restorer’s advice on document and photo preservation; a top party planner’s guide to creating a unique, memorable event; why enthusiasts and pro photographers will finally get the camera they’ve been wanting (and why it will cost more).
Keep photographing and let’s see what happens over the coming year…