There are, as you can see, four photos at the foot of this post. The top left is of a little boy, taken in Russia in 1910. It is conceivable that he’s still alive if he was fortunate enough to survive two world wars, the gulag and the many diseases that prevent most of us passing the magic 100 mark. I know nothing of him, but the story of the photographer is here.
The top right photo is iconic. The New York City skyline, minus the Twin Towers. This photo was taken before the towers went up though, not after they came down. Taken during the Great Depression, and part of this set taken from that era.
Bottom right is a polaroid. I did a Photo a Day project for a whole year. That chap did it for 18 years, till his death. And the story behind the project and his life can be found here. All of those photos, in all three sets, are inspiring and great to look at. If you have a little imagination, and with the help of Google, there’s stories there aplenty.
The photo at the bottom left is mine. I took it today. A drunk was removed from a mass yoga session in the Zocalo. Hardly iconic. But it’s life. Will someone come across it one day and wonder what the story was behind the drunk, the event, and maybe even me, the photographer? Maybe. Probably not. But you never know.
I like photography. I take photos for artsy reasons. I take photos for the memories. I take photos just to document life, places I see, people I pass by. I take a lot of photos. They are all stored there on Flickr, safe and sound. For now. I pay my $25 a year, or whatever it is, to have all my photos available 24/7. If they offered an account to keep my photos online forever, would I pay up? How much would a perpetuity account be worth? A thousand dollars? More? Less?
Is there a point to it? A ‘perpetuity account’ is a big promise to make, an easy one to break and what with formats changing, will anyone be able to see them in a hundred years time? There’s something to be said for paper. But it would be nice to believe that it is possible that one day, somewhere, someone will stumble across one of my photos, pause for a moment, let his or her imagination wander, and wonder how things were back then, so long ago, in 2010.
It’s a nice thought. But of course, if my photos do survive format changes, world wars, the ebola virus and climate change, then one day the sun will expand and swallow the earth, my photos and everything else, burning it all into less than a crisp. Unless. Unless….