The Aesthetics of Memory

I’ve been perusing stacks of old photo albums to recall my mother and her friends’ style, their manner. The camera used from my childhood created these rather small square images. They’re very faded now. Mostly wide shots with the head smack in the middle. Our old photo albums are like everyone’s. Like the way old televisions shows’ newscasters have their heads smack in the middle of the screen.

The narrative of seeing all the pictures at once on an album page tells a story in a way that a single picture doesn’t. Even the aesthetics the photo album alters the way I recall past time. Today people either “scrapbook” where everything looks so ‘done’, or they never develop the photos since it’s on their computer/phone/email anyway. In the 70s there is a rawness to the hand of my mother haphazardly laying them on the sticky paper.

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Today, with disposal digital pictures (take twenty, keep one) people are much more experimental and favor tight shots and liberally clip the tops of heads. More prints are made, fewer treasured. I wonder if we’ll all reflect upon our future past with less preciousness as a result.