Archives & Venacular Lecture

Another source of research is photograph an image taken now will inform the viewer in years to come what a place, fashion, society etc. was like nowadays. Just like images from years to go informs us nowadays what the world was like years ago and how everything has changed over time through modernizing. This means images become a record of time.

These can be found in libraries, social networks, websites, galleries, diaries, photo albums, in businesses, hospitals or general everyday life. Through one means or another life has an archive to help look over the past.

Another form is vernacular archives. Which is an archive that focuses on happenings around you, these are usually archives such as in photo albums created candidly of snapshots in time.

Like with Ria van Dijk, when in 1936 at the age of 16 she went to a yearly fair in her home area Tilburg in Holland which included a shooting gallery. Each time she hit the target in the shooting range then a picture would be taken. This she did for decades as a repetition of each year with the exception of twice, one when she was in hospital and the other when the fair didn’t arrive due to adverse weather conditions. Over time though you could see the changes as Ria aged, styles and technology changed, the people watching changed and society became more aware as Ria got fame from her yearly project.

This shows how the images started at first being only through film yet later on they became black and white with the same people supporting yet each aging. Then in the image of 2009 it has come to be colour, the people who were once there have gone but instead stand people who see Ria as a tourist attraction. The same area still holds the same familiarity though.

On the other hand Walker Evans documented areas of America; this was mainly done through the depression alongside the FSA (Farm Security Administration). This gave an outlook of what the area was like at the time and an idea of how a place has changed from now.

Another way, a way we have all done at some point is through photo albums. Documenting from youth to old age of yourself and your family, special moments and how other members who appear and disappear over time. These were all brought together by Eric Kessel to form an exhibition of an archive documenting his family.

In contrast to this though Mohini Chandra took images of her photo album but instead decided to look at the back of the images as they showed more of a portrayal for what the owner was like. Plus giving information what was happening in the images, a date plus how well kept the image is.

Here Joachim Schmid created a piece based on people who have been captured through family snapshots, ID photos and photo-booth, newspaper discards. These were found in the records office showing what people of a time were like. That were alongside text which gives an impression of the area at that time.

While there is a project by Rachel James based on a diary by Lucy Booth that she had found. From this she got the idea of getting people to read out parts of the diary. However, in return they read the extracts as they interpreted it. Informing more of how they see the world.

While in the images by John Stezaker, images are created through using other peoples images and cutting them up so to create a collage. Using postcards, pictures from books,film stills and magazines so to form his images. Giving an impression of different times being brought together of both a portrait and a landscape so to form a photomontage style image. Which the artist classed as marriages. Giving more of a coming together than the glamour portrayal that the images were taking from.

While politically Adam Boomberg and Oliver Chanarin were asked to look at photographic libraries of past images from events. These included riots and behavior on the streets. So with paying the main attention to images that had been selected with either circling them or by placing a coloured stickers on the image – hiding part of the image. Which gave the duo the idea of photographing just the circular area where the sticker was so to focus on the hidden documentation.

In contrast Walid Raad used circles of different colours but instead so to inform politics. Focusing on where shots have been fired in buildings, trees and cars over areas of Beirut. Each colour of which focusing on who, as in which country the bullets belonged to and how many they had shot. In turn giving the conclusion to who is behind the war. However, to add a twist the images are created from Raad’s alter ego of house fires and car incidents.

Finally this last image was created by society, this was in reaction to the behavior of an American cop Lieutenant John Pike. A cop who during a peaceful protest decided to spray a group of protesters who was sitting on the ground. This in turn created outrage and so to show their disapproval, people took iconic images of beloved people such as musicians or art works and integrated the Lieutenant with his spray can into the images so to show him defacing people with the up most respect of the majority of the world and culture.

In turn these images tell a story of what has happened the way people feel and how a set time was just by looking at them but in return the question is created. How can you tell a history without an archive? If life is not documented then the generations to come who won’t survive at the same time as the generations now won’t know how we lived. Just like we now, wouldn’t know how people in the past. Archives though answer this even if it is through cave drawings or old photographs. It informs us all of the past.