Today I heard a quote by Nan Goldin. It went something like this..
“I started photographing after my sister died, because I never wanted to lose anyone again.”
This pulls me back to that area of truth. We all photograph to remember, to document. It is fact, it is one of the most generic uses of photography there is. This quote, it’s honest. A photograph gives us something, something not tangible, something that we don’t need to ever be tangible. It gives us something better then physical actuality. It gives us the power of memory and recollection. But which is real? Which is the authentic experience? Theres some sort of ambiguity with photography that people think they NEED it to gain validity. People take their cameras on vacations to prove of “these authentic experiences.” My boss was telling me of a time, she was at an art museum in Paris waiting to meet a friend. She sat back and began observing. What she noticed was peoples complete disconnect with actual reality. One man completely encountered ALL the art on the wall, filtered through his camera lens, glued in front of his face. Because a photograph is a document of experience?
But again, how real is that experience? How does the photograph truly function? Is it a defense mechanism, like Nan Goldin, a way to hold on and recall the things you never want to let go of? Or can it be a valid replacement for the actual?
“Everyone’s waiting for this authentic experience, preventing them from actually having it.”- Dr. Sara Cochran.