Friday, August 14, 2015

Reconnecting Lost Images to Their History

Here's an example of what images mean to the people involved and how little they mean when separated from their context.

A technician who worked for Kodak in the early days of Kodachrome got some 16mm Kodachrome film and made movies of his hometown and his girl. The film was developed, marked as experimental, and then lost because the technician became a pilot in the Army Air Corps, went to Europe flying a B-17, and never returned.

The film was found in an attic and a local historian got to view it. The historian did his research and figured out who the people were. The young woman is now 96 years old and still living in the same town. The historian made contact and took the film to her. This is what a picture or a film can mean to someone:


*H/T to Brigid who used this story in the context of a larger piece in her August 4th post about her dad.


Archer said...

Any photo or image, when separated from its context, becomes a "stock image". It could be anything, but to the viewer it's meaningless. No memory, no connection, no emotion.

It's sad, really. The places were real places, the people had real lives, but unless the viewer has some connection or awareness, it's just an old photo. Just silver nitrate on a piece of paper under a matte finish.

Chickenmom said...

No offense Archer, but I don't see photographs that way. Perhaps an image of a building or an inanimate object would fall into the 'stock' category, but images of long, forgotten people are always fascinating.
When you find them, it's fun to wonder who they were, what they did and who took the picture. Can you imagine if we had photographs of Washington, Jefferson and our Founding Fathers? We do have paintings of them, but their images are from the perspective of the artists. Look at a painting of Lincoln and then his photograph. A camera lens takes more than just a picture of a face; it captures their soul.