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Old 03-23-2006, 05:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Inspired by Bobby's Rock Festival Photos

Over in Tilted Photography, Bobby has a couple of posts of some 1970s rock festivals he attended.

http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthread.php?t=102383
http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthread.php?t=102358

They have a few views and a few comments. Everyone seems to like them that has commented thus far. I remember in grade school as a kid we had social studies books that had photos of some festival (likely Woodstock) and to a young boy of about nine or ten I figured the "social studies book factory" had some guy taking pictures. Of course when I got older I realized that these text book companies likely get stock photos from various sources. But still... Here are some pictures recording a significant era in history by the tfp's own Bobby. Certainly he had no idea that he would one day post them on a medium such as The Internet. And perhaps he had no idea he would be caturing something that people would take an interest in decades later.

I was reading in a local paper recently about a fellow who took many old home movies during the 50s and 60s of common everyday scenes around his school, town, home, etc. His father was able to afford a home movie camera that he ordered from Sears or Montgomery Ward and was not able to figure out how to operate it. The son however took right to it and recorded everyday life in a small town which years later proved to be of interest to many.

Charlatan's thread where he takes pictures with his cell phone and then shares them here may some day evolve into something like this I'd imagine.

I don't mean to break some kind of rule by starting yet another thread to discuss these other threads. I'm interested in what others may think about the recording of history by common everyday people. How many more of you may have important photographic depictions of our generation on film, on disk, in a drawer, on video tape?

Somewhere today I can't help but think that a future oscar winner is being videotaped in a school play, a Superbowl MVP was videotaped this past season scoring a touchdown or an aspiring politician was recorded at a highschool debate tournament.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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For a long time now I have been a fan of "the every day" as represented in film. In the not too distant past the only way to have a visual representation of your or your family (let alone your surroundings) was to have an official portarit painted. It was an expensive thing to do. As a result it was mostly reserved for the wealthy.

Later, you could get a photography taken but these photos were largely posed in studios. While this was largely a byproduct of the technology, it was also a style that grew out of the centuries of painted portarits. It captured peoples faces and costume but with few exceptions they were staid and in the studio.

Some of the first painters to capture and popularize the depiction of "everyday life" and more importantly "common life" were the impressionists. They chose subjects like Women hanging laundry, men perusing the available merchandise at the ballet, etc.

Not too long after, photographer's like Eugene Aget and later Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassai and Wee-Gee (amongst others) started to capture scenes from the everyday world on film. What often gets forgotten is that around the turn of the century, the Kodak Brownie was released to the public... for the first time the general public had the ability to capture the everyday. They could document their own lives in a way that had never been really possible.

It was a boon to future historians.

While I certainly appreciate the beauty of a finely crafted photograph I still have a soft spot of the common snapshot. Sure most of the are "artless", they are used to capture a picture of a loved one or to remember a special occasion. They are everywhere. Nonetheless, they have become an important part of how we interact and how we remember. In some way I am not sure this is always a good thing (don't get me started) but in so many others, they are little unexpected treats.

So in the end, for me, it isn't really about whether or not we manage to capture some future Oscar winner. It is more important to me that we have captured ourselves. We have taken the means of production into our own hands and have made it our own... it's so very punk, when it comes down to it.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh yes I agree that the everyday aspect of it is more important than capturing someone before they were famous. The everyday pictures represent reality better than movies or television.
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have become very interested in photographing the 'unnoticed'; abandoned buildings, artful graffiti, etc.
When the spouse and I were young-marrieds, we took a lot of 'get lost' drives and he has a 35mm Minolta and lenses. We have albums full of places that are not in existence now. Considering barely 25 years have passed in some cases, that's surprising and sad to me. I'd considered going through all those albums and scanning everything, but there's something to be said for the slow disintegration of these same pictures. Wistful yet the past that they represent somehow seems more meaningful in that slow process. Hard to describe, really.
When my children were infants, I got the idea to videotape them every day for 5-10 minutes and did this for over two years before the taping waned and fell back to just 'events'. I also went everywhere with that camera. I have a comet on one tape, a huge fire and explosion-things that made the news when they were happening, but long gone out of the collective consciousness.
I plan to continue doing my sets of the 'mundane'-there's the old Boy Scouts national headquarters here that's been abandoned for years and will probably be torn down, so I want to somehow get on that property and start clicking away. Who knows? Maybe someday some people will have this nice book of photos on their coffee table "Forgotten History of New Jersey"
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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sometime last year - the Newark Museum, in beautiful downtown newark, had an exhibit from some famous photographer of pictures of Newark thru the decades... Newark is an incredibly crime riddled city, but decades ago, there was pride in the city, and it was almost clean - and the architecture was and still is amazing... though some of the older buildings are now crack dens or about to be ripped down to make room for new high rises... the old pictures give so much history of what was... I'd love to have heard a commentary from someone who did live there then and what it was like - I can only imagine from the pictures... the commentary would complete the story.

At christmas, when I was at my parents, I found an old photo album from when I was a kid, and it was all pictures of the town that i grew up it -- based on the pictures, the town is completely unrecognizable now... 20 years from now... it'll all have changed again...

Photos are a frozen moment in time... I still prefer the stories that go along with that frozen moment...
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Old 03-23-2006, 02:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I love old everyday pictures, in particular those of places I have been a lot to. Old Stockholmiana is like candy to me. When they remodeled the Student Union House a few years ago they ran a series of old photos from the house in the student paper, and believe me, everyone was studying those pictures in minute detail. It was incredibly interesting to see how life was for engineering students back in the 1930's. They wore suit and tie to school and they ate lunch on fancy porcelain on small round tables with full length linen table cloths - and they were waited on! No standing in endless cafeteria lines and balancing trays for them! Spoiled pampered bourgeoise brats... It's those kinds of things that get me, the kind of information you'll never find in history books.
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A network here started showing an old drama series from the 80's that was filmed in Toronto. The series itself was just OK, but I was fascinated by all the locales back in day, no matter how mundane. I love this sort of stuff.

The Getty Museum in LA had an interesting exhibit of found photos and restored prints from everyday life. Their website has a few of the best on display. I especially like the 1961 photo of a girl, taken by her dad, as she was waiting to leave for the prom.

Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions...ighlights.html
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Old 03-29-2006, 04:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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fresnelly, that was a cool link. Clicking through some of those revealed some interesting pictures. I ran across some "1957 vintage take the family to Yellowstone" type pictures. I don't know why but I find those kinds of pictures particularly interesting.
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