Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finding Photographs

These are two old photos I found in my parents' album. Lately I've been thinking about finding photographs, or refinding them. Recently I've accumulated more images, which include postcards and snapshots I find at bookstores or antique malls. There is an abundance of rich photographs out there. And I've "found" many interesting photographs in my own family's albums. Not photos that just interest me because of their connection to me, but ones that I find intriguing regardless of my relationship to the subjects.

I've realized just how many photographs I have. Many are my own that I've taken, while others are from my family's snapshots. Most of my family photos have been scattered about, either in boxes or old photo albums or scrapbooks. Trying to organize, store, and preserve them is difficult. But I realize I want to be able to more easily access my collection. And that means knowing what I have, where it is and how to get to it. Many of the photos I hadn't seen for years and had forgotten about or never really remembered. Looking through them now, I see aesthetic pleasantries that I hadn't appreciated fully before.

When buying photos at antique malls, I'm drawn to the images I can make up a story for. There's a compositional element that intrigues me, and lures me into purchasing, which is not something specific I can describe. But I also like the mystery, or uncertainty of what may be going on within the photograph. There's information and enough clues to piece together, but you will never know all the details. I realize I will not know the people's names or what the exact relationship between the individuals may be. However, I don't need to know. While they may be personal photographs, the descriptions and ambiguity are what make it art; that and the context in which I'm viewing them, which is as appropriated or found art.

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