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Constructing History with Photographs

July 9, 2013

Buffalo Doug

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that Tim Schlak, Greta Grond, Sarah Kaltenbach, and I are working on a photographic history of Orange City, to be published by Arcadia Publishing. See this previous post, as well as this, on the project.

Tim just clued me in to something Susan Sontag wrote in On Photography (New York: Picador, 1990):

Rehabilitating old photographs, by finding new contexts for them, has become a major book industry. A photograph is only a fragment, and with the passage of time its moorings come unstuck. It drifts away into a soft abstract pastness, open to any kind of reading (or matching to other photographs) (71).

Yes, this is what we are doing. We are constructing a history of Orange City through digitized images. The word limits set by the publisher constrain the contextualizing that we can do.

Nevertheless, remembering…

View original post 73 more words

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