Exploring the photographs of the Daniel Meadows Free Photographic Omnibus project, I found access to a radio interview which took place earlier this year . The interview included clips from tape-recording’s that Meadows had made between the end of 1973 to September 1974 as he was traveling across England. I see his work as not only a documented journey but an invaluable social record which includes the voices of children and adults as well as his own reflections .
It’s very moving to hear people of those times speaking about everyday things in a very natural way . In some ways for me it is the sound of those voices which are more nostalgic than the images although the photographs are of course, significant.
I wonder if the proliferation of digital images makes them less valuable. In the interview Meadows speaks of the photographs that he took as being something that generally people would treasure . Perhaps being able to take selfies with a mobile phone , we know that they are readily available. When I see photographs from the pre digital age they do carry some sort of treasured aura with them . Perhaps it is the story , the narrative of the times that the image evokes and invokes .
Daniel Meadows speaking this year at the age of 63 commented on how those people from the 70s remain alive in his mind and how well he remembers them and their stories.
Exploring other photo documentaries, I found a journey thorough parenthood presented in an amusing and politically incorrect way by American father Dave Engledow. For me, the images more interesting that the usual baby pictures because Engledow had staged them and used Photoshop and yet there is a sense of fun and in some images, spontaneity. Observing the little girl growing and changing was a great example of documenting the passage of time.
Recording a specific time in American history, Burk Uzzle’s exhibition of is an extraordinary collection of photographs charting racisim in the 60’s and the death of Martin Luther King. Although the value of these images as a group is the content and history, the individual images are rich in narrative. The images of Martin Luther King as a strong and vibrant figure and then those photographs of his funeral are a shocking record of the time and place.
My own old photographs are precious because they record a history that nobody shares with me . Because my immediate family have all died the photographs are all I have left of a life in another country and another time and with other people . Looking at much older photographs of grandparents and family members I never met brings forward nostalgia as the mind weaves stories .
I do have photographs on a hard drive . I also lost many digital photographs to two computer virus which alerted me to the fragility of the digital image . Looking through the remaining images is not something I do very often but when I am looking for a specific photograph it is certainly much easier to access than to go through the big tin of old photographs in the cupboard .
Looking at someone else’s photographs on their phone is not as enjoyable for me as handling the paper , the photo album or the framed photo which someone might pass for me to see. However I do enjoy receiving photos on my phone or computer when people feel the impulse to send them , almost like a postcard . I wonder if digital photographs and their immediacy brings a certain value whereas the paper photographs seem to hold a different value.
The following images are ones that I took a few years ago whilst observing the changing seasons in a small part of my garden.
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/radiotonic/omnibus/7493554 (Accessed 14 Oct.2016)
Meadows, D. radio interview
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/radiotonic/omnibus/7493554 (Accessed 14 Octo 2016)
http://www.burkuzzle.com/american-history.html ( Accessed 14 Oct. 2016)