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In Business with Memories. Back to the roots of photography | by Maxime Hurtebize | Jan, 2021

In Business with Memories. Back to the roots of photography | by Maxime Hurtebize | Jan, 2021

Back to the roots of photography

I have spent part of 2020 at my parents place in Normandy and took the time to re-open old-school photo albums. I then remembered that I lost my last two smartphones and that part of my souvenirs instantly vanished… I also wondered whether I would leave an USB flash, a cloud link or a smartphone with thousands of photos to my kids… Turning pages, I soon realized how beautiful analog pictures were: not perfect nor instagrammable, they capture authentic moments.

“With the emergence of deepfake, analog photo is a way to find authenticity”

Rebuilding communities

I was quite amazed when I learnt that 2 million disposable cameras were still sold in France in 2018 and that the analog industry was growing +30% annually. Some users keep the analog prints to themselves. Rebuilding a photo intimacy, while keeping its narcissistic outbursts for social networks. Analog pictures being less easy to share on social media, this comeback may be a call for more privacy. I myself spend less time on Facebook, feeling to be the target of digital billboards.

Mark Zuckerberg said last year: “For the next decade, some of the most important social infrastructure will help us reconstruct all kinds of smaller communities to give us that sense of intimacy again. This is one of the areas of innovation I’m most excited about.”. Got it, Mark (2).

Slowing down and enjoying the moment

Quite critical about digital pictures, the philosopher André Rouillé (1) draws a parallel between neo liberalism and digital photos dynamics: instantaneity, acceleration, fluidity, circulation, horizontality, sharing… they circulate globally in uninterrupted flows. This dissemination of the market model blows up the old boundaries between here and elsewhere, nations and the world, private and public. For him, digital photography has opened a new era characterized by the profusion of aberrant images, the emergence of new powers, the rise of a new economy and the making of a neoliberal individual. Rather extreme, this position also questions ourselves on how we want to build memories and share them around us.

Against the tide and constant flows of news and images, let’s chill a bit, sit down on a comfy sofa and open a good old photo album. Turning pages, remember this great birthday party or wedding: is a smile appearing on your face?

(1) in André Rouillé, La Photo numérique, une force néolibérale (French)

(2) Mark Zuckerberg is co-founder of a social-networking website called Facebook

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