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Rituals of Photography

As my practice and research draws upon a personal framework, the historical context in which it sits is primarily relevant to the Millennial generation to which I belong. Although older generations will be able to relate to the seeming disappearance of analogue rituals associated with film photography, the millennial generation have had a front seat to the rapid transformation in which culturally, images are accumulated. 

The change in methodology not only has polar-rituals in a physical capacity but also exemplifies the change in attitude and utilisation of the photograph. 

With the evolution of the smart phone, it can appear at times as though society has adopted a disposable attitude that dilutes sentimental value as well as the preservative qualities of the photograph. This is especially in regards to memory and enforcement of identity and the self. 

 The photograph of my childhood cat Coco, embodies a symbolic reference and reminder of the now out-dated method of storing and displaying photographs. Treasured images that had been eagerly awaited for during the printing processes were carefully curated in specifically chosen albums, given extreme consideration and usually also adorned with scrap-book style collage and handwritten annotations. Coco, was always part of this ritual, always on hand to lend her expert opinion. The framed photographs on the dresser in the background also tell of a ritualistic process, one of selection and public display. 

The camera's user manual is almost museum worthy now, no modern teenager could comprehend the physical interaction between maker and machine that was required in order to make the 24-36 photographs that can now be taken with the input of merely one finger in a matter of seconds. 

And yet the memories and nostalgia that are conjured through the printed photograph are so much stronger. The iPhone and smart phone has allowed the mass-accumulation of images but it's rare to see someone scroll back several years through their digital catalogue of endless images to settle upon merely one that will stir up a whole era's worth of memories. At least, this is my argument. 

Coco the cat, c.2001

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