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Photography: A Living Organism in the Landscape of Memory

Photography is often conceptualized as a means of "freezing" moments in time — a static capture that serves as an immutable record of a particular instant. This notion, although romantic, neglects the richness and complexity inherent in the very nature of photography. When we see a photograph as just a fragment of crystallized time, we limit our understanding of this powerful means of expression, reducing it to a mere immobilization of the incessant flow of life.

Far from being a simple "freezing" of a moment, photography is an organism in constant mutation. We could even think of a photographic image as an emotional "palimpsest": an ancient manuscript that has been erased and rewritten several times, but where the traces of its previous versions are still visible and add depth and complexity as a whole.

Fly through old family album is more than a nostalgia trip. It is an invitation to revisit and reinterpret each image in light of our accumulated experiences. A photo of a child's birthday takes on new contours when seen through the eyes of an adult, and a photo of a loved one who has passed away takes on other meanings as mourning gives way to acceptance and longing.

A digital revolution brought to photography an intriguing paradox. While photos now have the potential to be instantly shared and viewed by a global audience, this digital ubiquity also calls into question their durability. On social media, a photograph can gain hundreds or even thousands of glances in a matter of seconds, but this same visibility does not guarantee its survival in the whirlwind of content that constantly flows across the internet.

It can be immediately "liked", shared and then quickly forgotten, lost in the cascade of information that is our digital lives. The photo becomes both immortal and ephemeral: immortal because, theoretically, a digital copy can last indefinitely; ephemeral because its relevance can be as short as the life cycle of a 'trending topic' on social media.

In the same way, if printed photographs face fading colors and physical wear — testifying to the processes of wear and deterioration they undergo subject — digital images also have their own forms of “aging.” They are subject to technological obsolescence; Think about how many images have been lost due to changing file formats or storage on media now considered archaic, such as floppy disks or CDs.

Thus, whether on paper or in pixels, photography continues to be an evolving organism, affected both by external forces and context in which they are revisited. The act of photography, therefore, is more than a static capture of time: it is an insertion of a moment into a larger, fluid and changing narrative, which includes not only the subject and the photographer, but also future viewers and contexts. in which the photograph will exist.

What about how we interpret photos? We could compare them to the stage of a theater, where the same scene can be performed in countless ways, depending on the director, the actors and, of course, the audience. In a photo of a father holding his little son, we see a testament to human connection in its purest form. This image suggests a silent dialogue, full of meanings, between two generations. But over time, the same picture can reveal other shades of meaning, perhaps showing not only the tenderness, but the complexities and even insecurities inherent to the family relationships. Each new interaction with this image allows for new readings, new meanings and emotions.

So, let us see photography not as an immutable artifact, but as a dynamic field and always in transformation. It is this ability to continually reinvent ourselves, to adapt and evolve in conjunction with our own lives and interpretations, that makes photography such a powerful and human medium.

Written by Angela Rosana, s< /span>aibmore about me here.

Credits to the photographers appear in the images, with links to their respective Instagram profiles. Find out more about each person’s work!

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Publication on Instagram @vivaoclique_ in September 2023


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