George Eastman’s exciting new hand held kodak in 1899 (“you press the button, we’ll do the rest”) was the beginning of what has become a huge part of family life. Recording it.
Over time, family photographs have developed from being mainly staged, and the introduction of the kodak camera introduced more natural capturing of family life. Instead of formal group photos, there are now photos of the family playing together, eating, talking at events etc.
I believe we photograph to record moments in time. Events that will not happen again, such as births, weddings, first steps, birthdays, anniversaries, first day at school.
From the first Kodak point and shoot camera to today’s modern DSLR’s, technology has changed drastically. Families are not using more ‘professional’ cameras to capture moments, as well as simply using their mobile phones!
The introduction of the world wide web (2002) has had a huge impact on family photographs too. With billions of people using the internet, and more specifically social media, family albums are no longer tangible photographs in an album, but are now online for everyone to have access to.
This can be proven in the example of a tragedy. When Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007, images of her circuited the world in minutes. These images were from family albums.
Richard Billinghams, ‘Rays a laugh’, 1995 is an example of personal family photos. These are not necassarily images of treasured events, but in fact what was ‘normal’ family life for him and his parents. With an alcoholic father and volatile dynamics.
- Personal and family photographs are composed specifically to portray the individual or the family in a way they wish to be seen. (Liz Wells)
- Images feed our need for a clear sense of identity and of cultural belonging. (Liz Wells)
- We should use photos to ask questions rather than try to show facts (Jo Spence)
- The family album is viewed as an important tool in the reconstruction of a personal history, searching among its cast of characters for meaning and explanations. (Kuhn 1995)
- Do we remember the events of the past or do we remember photographs of them? (Sontag 1977)