SYMPOSIUM: Oxford Companion I

This article was more than helpful. Grahame told us to find arguments made that we disagree with; to argue back. This article had a few prize quotes in I felt intrigued me greatly.

Roland Barthes claims the photograph ‘actually serves the process of forgetting,’ and Susan Sontag ‘suggested that with the passage of time a photograph loses its specificity to become a purely aesthetic object open to multiple readings’. I disagree with this massively, as though a moment may be slightly forgotten over time, it will still hold a more personal ‘reading’ from the subject that from a stranger. It holds the key to a memory, one that will be relevant only to those involved. If take out of a family album or away from the subject, then yes it would become a simple object. But while in this location it is kept as a token of memory. ‘It is the photograph itself that is remembered.’ This, I am in controversy with. Partly I do agree, as there are moments I have forgotten but still possess a photograph of that I do remember. But these are moments from childhood, which is not easily remembered by most people. Moments in my adulthood that I have photographs of, yes, I do remember the moment around the photograph being taken vividly. But these are additional tokens of memory alongside the moments remembered without photographic evidence.

Another point of interest was the notation of a Jo Spence project relating to memory. Spence is someone who’s work I have always been interested in and plan to research further.



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