Photo Diary 100/365 • Photography, Our Soul and The Best Of Us

11:01 PM

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It's one of my childhood memory; our mother to dress us with our best clothes and make our hair pretty in order to go to the photography store and take a good family photo. It was the time that our camera Zenit couldn't replace the abilities of a professional camera in the hands of a professional photographer. Despite the digital revolution, I believe neither now can do it. But this practice to get ready for a good photo, our childish eyes couldn't understand. Why lose time from our game in order to be photographed like 'nerds'? That was totally fake!

Gustav Borgen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In my adolescence, making a kind of bohemian revolution, many times I avoided to be photographed with the 'weird' excuse of soul-stealing. Although in many parts of the world (San Juan Chamoula in Mexico, South America, Australia) there are people who literally believe this soul-stealing theory even now, I was expressing it in a more figurative aspect. If someone photographed you without your concession and exposed your photos publicly, for example on the internet, it would be like he stole a piece of your life and privacy; I think that everyone agrees with that and feel it in this way. 

The philosophical discussion about how camera lenses 'freeze' our image and capture our 'life' in a material outside ourselves and for a very long time after we are gone, could be endless. But if we are willing to be captured in the eternal archive, we want this photo to show the best of us; the moment that we want anyone to remember. Yet, the distance between what we see on the paper, or in our screen, and what was really there, is an object of a research and discussion among all who were witnessed the moment because a live scene has even more interpretations than a still photo.

These thoughts, always in the back place of my mind, came in the surface while reading the book "Photography: A middle-brow Art" by Pierre Bourdieu and Shaun Whiteside and a quote in its first chapter. The chapter starts like this:

"In a large family, everyone knows that even good understanding cannot prevent cousins, uncles and aunts from sometimes having stormy or wearing conversations. Whenever I feel that tempers are fraying I take out our family photograph album. Everyone rushes over, everyone's amazed, they rediscover themselves, as babies and teenagers. There's nothing like it for calming them down, and everything settles down again". (Mlle B.C., Grenoble (Isere), Elle, 14 January 1965, 'Les lectrices bavardent (Readers chat)'.

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