Saving Photography –
When I was a photographer I collected social history with my own camera. As a documentary film maker and working with virtual reality I more and more relied on the visual works of others. Today I am working with new technology on issues of the past.
At NL12 studio we are working on a virtual reality project based on amateur and personal photography from the first century of photography. The social media posts ‘Saving Photography’ are sidelines of that project.
People who know me, remember that I had been using the phrase ‘Saving Photography’ in a different context before. Many times I said to art students who showed interest in analog technology: ‘It is not our job to save photography!’
I ment it: loyalty to analog stuff in this time frame is getting us nowhere. Todays issues should be told with todays media. The media people use. If you don’t buy books, newspapers or magazines yourself, it is pointless to gamble on a career in that direction. Photography is merging into other visual ways of story telling. That’s fantastic and exiting and we should be in the centre of that development.
We do however have an obligation to history. We have to save the images from the past and bring them into the new world. At the same time we have to protect the context of their history.
All the pictures here were disconnected from the people on them and the persons who took them. As far as I know they all died. Stories were lost. I found these paper photographs on (online) flee markets and auctions. Also many pictures and even full albums were given to me by nice people who felt responsible to give them a good home.
Most images were tiny and in bad shape. Worn, scratched, dusty and often faded. Computer technology brought them back to life. Study and help via social media bring back facts and thoughts.
If you are interested in the history-collecting I did with my own camera, click here. (Russian, for English and German please scroll down on the second page.)
Leo Erken, June, 2019.