Photographing, Aging and Dying

Photographs, like people, age and then, ultimately, they die. Like men and women, they also have a period of gestation: depending on the processing and drying methods, several hours or days may separate the moment when one takes (makes?) the picture and the end of the whole procedure, when the print is dry and ready to be handled. Fertilization and birth. Aging and dying.

I am talking about analogical photography, of course. No such concerns are valid for digital photography if the image is not printed (otherwise, and despite all the claims from Epson about the durability of their prints, the photos will eventually fade and die; and fortunately, I say). Therefore, if we believe that the value, emotional or commercial, of a photograph (any photograph) is highly related to this kind of life cycle — and we should at least consider it, since there are enough hints in History that sustain the thesis, — then we must conclude that the digital era could have a negative impact on the value of photography as an object and as a cognitive extension of the human mind. It’s easier to press Del than to tear a photo. And although this easiness may be the only answer to the mass production of inconsequent images, its effects on the future of photography are disturbingly unknown.

private collection

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