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Friday, February 03, 2006

The Photograph: Sacred Object no Longer?

A post earlier this week by Virginia Postrel on her Dynamist blog, about the scrapbooking fad among suburban moms, elicited an interesting response from reader Eric Akawie:

I think another, somewhat unconscious motive behind Scrapbooking is the deprecation of the physical status of photographs. I remember as a child, photographs were absolutely sacred – we never threw away or cut up a photo, no matter how bad it was. But now, with photos printed at home, and so cheap individually, throwing photographs away is not a big deal (although I always feel a pang and sense my mother's disapproving glare).

Scrapbooking returns that sense of specialness to the photos included, and with the amount of work (and money!) that goes into an individual page, acts as a bulwark against the photos being discarded during some cleaning/purging/simplifying binge.

Are photographs sacred objects for you in this way? If not, were they ever? And if they were in the past but aren't now, why do you think your feelings changed?

Posted by: OREN GRAD

3 Comments:

Blogger scotth said...

All I remember is 'Hold it by the edges!' I don't think I hear that as much these days.

9:40 AM  
Blogger David said...

Polaroids, for me, are still more special than prints made by negs or digital files. There's only one original.

My wife still won't let any prints hit the trash can. All are put in photo books. At this point, I tend to just make polaroid albums.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Dave New said...

My daughter-in-law got caught up in that Creative Memories(tm) stuff a while back, and got absolutely fearless about tearing into her old boxes of shapshots, and making them into keepsake scrapbooks. Considering that most/all of these prints were 'one of kind' (a lot of folks don't know where their original negatives are anymore, or haven't taken proper care), it made me cringe to see her cut them up with abandon.

On the other hand, considering that most/all of those photos had spent a number of years being shuffled around from one apartment to another in some old cardboard boxes, at least being mounted in scrapbooks might at least help their chances of survival.

I remember my sister many years ago, telling me when the back of their house had an electrical fire in the middle of the night, that the first (and only) thing they grabbed on the way out the door was "the photo albums".

My packrat mentality cuts in though, and wishes that all family negs/slides would be scanned/preserved somehow, before the self-appointed family scrapbooker does irreversible damage to them, by cutting them into cute heart shapes and writing cute comments on them, or sprinkling sparkly glue all over them.

9:30 AM  

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