Walker © Aline Smithson

My project, Fugue State, speaks to the potential loss of the tangible photograph in future generations. I observe my children, part of the most documented generation in history, creating thousands of images, but they will most likely have no physical photographs to pass down to their grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

Charlie © Aline Smithson

This loss of the photograph as object reflects the fading away of specific memories and identity, and the work created for this series sits in an in-between space of the future and the past. It speaks to chemicals and fingerprints and destruction. For this project, after capturing analog portraits, I have bleached my negatives, wounding the film stock in various ways and then reinterpreting them in the digital darkroom. I am looking for the beauty of impermanence but also recognition that physical photographic legacies may be lost.

As an analog photographer, I have watched my practice diminished and altered by the loss of materials and methodologies. Over the years I have collected and created hundreds of portraits, some acquired are almost a century old and it’s made me consider the formal portrait in the midst of the shifting sands of photography, the loss of the portrait photographer as a profession, the loss of photograph as object, and most importantly, the loss of photographic legacies.

 

 

Mohannad and Munir © Aline Smithson
Sam © Aline Smithson

To learn more about the work of Aline Smithson please visit her page at Aline Smithson.

Featured Comments

“I have been thinking about this for years. The loss of the vernacular photograph is what bothers me the most, not the “good” photos, edited, printed, or stored in the Cloud, but the mistakes, the quirky, strange, undoctored, wild, loony, bizarre images that are being deleted willy nilly. Those are the pictures that reveal more of who we really are than how we would like to be remembered. Visual history is at the whim of fools and cynics.” Liese Ricketts 

“There is also the matter of those negatives or files we choose not to print–increasingly the case for so many. If digital files, they are certain to be evanescent, and the events, people, places they document, rather than having a representation in the admittedly two dimensional print, will some day cease to exist. These events, places and people will fade from memory, both magnetic, in the case of the files, and the future living memory of those who will never see the photographic prints. Thank you for this collection of photographs and the vision and thoughts they evoke.” Norm Snyder

3 thoughts on “Fugue State, Aline Smithson

  1. I have been thinking about this for years. The loss of the vernacular photograph is what bothers me the most, not the “good” photos, edited, printed, or stored in the Cloud, but the mistakes, the quirky, strange, undoctored, wild, loony, bizarre images that are being deleted willy nilly. Those are the pictures that reveal more of who we really are than how we would like to be remembered. Visual history is at the whim of fools and cynics. But, then again, this world is run by fools and cynics.

    Like

  2. There is also the matter of those negatives or files we choose not to print–increasingly the case for so many. If digital files, they are certain to be evanescent, and the events, people, places they document, rather than having a representation in the admittedly two dimensional print, will some day cease to exist. These events, places and people will fade from memory, both magnetic, in the case of the files, and the future living memory of those who will never see the photographic prints. Thank you for this collection of photographs and the vision and thoughts they evoke.

    Like

  3. Such a thought-provoking commentary–and the photographs and process are so poignant when combined with Aline’s elegy for the photograph as object. Our rural Georgia community is creating our 16th annual SlowExposures Photography Festival in September–actual photographs exhibited in late-nineteenth century buildings that were part of our once-thriving cotton industry. Real photos, real interactions in front of the work, real context for the images capturing the complexity and contradictions of the rural American South–and we are thrilled that Aline is returning as one of our jurors this year. She gets it…and, we hope, will continue to lobby for the value of these precious objects!

    Like

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