18 March 2007

I sit and bathe in the wave of nostalgia for an age yet to come

I took these photos in downtown Pulaski. The flowers were in the windows to celebrate/advertise Valentine's Day, but the faded curtains and relative starkness of the displays made me feel empty. The photo copy place grabs my attention every time I walk by there. The juxtaposition of the woman in a wedding gown and the older man in horn rimmed glasses, both faded photos that look they were taken in the 70's, makes me feel something like nostalgia for the people in the photos, even though I have no idea who they are. The arrangement also makes me think about how memory is intrinsically linked with photography. Kodak initially started marketing cameras as a tool to preserve time. In a way, a photograph is a stay against time; but in another way, a photograph erases real memory, replacing it with a picture--a "photo copy." My thoughts aren't fully formed on this topic. What do you think?


Leonard said...

I find that my memories change with time to suit who I am currently regardless of the influence of photos. Photography just helps to limit the morphing of my memories.

I like the photo of the mannequin modeling the wedding gown. Bridal portraits always strike me as interesting because they seem to be so much about what role a woman is playing at one very particular moment in her life. With other photographs of people, it seems to be easier to glean ideas of who the overall person is. In bridal portraits, the person is overshadowed and, at times, almost dehumanized by the title of "bride". That's who they are and not much more for that moment. Replacing a woman with a mannequin, and a rather melancholy mannequin at that, makes an interesting, but perhaps unintended, statement. Well done.

mark burnette said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm not sure I was /i/trying/i/ to make a statement with the mannequin shot, but Baudrillard's ideas of simulacra (and issues of representation in general), come to mind with mannequins. Of course, when I go out to photograph, I just shoot whatever catches my eye, pulls me in. There are undoubtedly various reasons why certain things pull me in, but I don't try to analyze them until later. With these shots, though, I do recall thinking of mannequin photos by Walker Evans and Manuel Bravo, which adds another layer to issues of representation.

I really hadn't considered how brides are dehumanized by the title of "bride," but that's an excellent point, and it fits nicely with some of what I did intend. At my own wedding, I recall feeling overly self-conscious, that I was playing a role and the audience harbored certain expectations. I also see your point about memories changing to suit who you are. That certainly happens with me, but there also photos of my childhood that have replaced any memory I might have. That's part of what I had in mind with the "photo copy" shot. In any case, thanks for the thoughtful comments. I'd really like this blog to be a discussion, and I've enjoyed thinking about what you had to say.