Raw Histories Elizabeth Edwards Commentary

This reading focuses on the many contextualizations that come from photography beyond the simple subject itself: from the historical/colonial eye, the archival practice of categorizing the photo, future meanings, material, and contextual creation. I found this to be a very comprehensive summary of many of the meanings of photographs I have considered as a photographer myself and as someone who has taken to building photo archives.

A few of the points I found most interesting points include: A difference between public and private photos. Private photos can carry “context with the life they are extracted” and public photos become “removed from such context” and can “generate symbol or metaphor” While I don’t nessicarly agree with the public/private terminology, I believe this is a refined distinction for the purpose of photo taking, and how generally private or personal photos are for one’s own meaning, while once it is shared, the meaning must be contextualized for the viewer to have the same experience. The decision whether to contextualize the photograph or not also leads to different readings.

Photographs will accumulate meaning, and remain Socially and Historically Active objects While the subject of the photo and the image itself is stationary, the effect of photography and the fact that the medium can “constantly pick up new meanings” despite the image being frozen in time. This is the power of photography and reproduction into the current stage. I love the point where an archive of photography is not frozen in time, and can be viewed in many ways in many perspectives.

Photographs construct reality in a performance As they bring historical and non-present snapshots into the current one, the performance of a photo is the current engagement from the viewer and from the presenter. This is beyond the photographer’s realm.

In all, the reading shows the impact of photography and how long lasting these objects can be, despite the singularity of their snapshot in time.