Archival photography: Past stories & future anecdotes

Archival photography: Past stories & future anecdotes

Anna Nix
6th March 2024
Image Credit: Laura Kasongo (Laura's Great Grandparents)
From cave paintings, which described hunting, to renaissance portraits, all the way to the modern era of digital photographs, pictures have always told us stories. Each one is its own and the photos from years gone-by tell the stories of our past.

We are nothing without our past, as she makes us who we are. If we were to forget her, we would be deemed to repeat her. Were we not to learn from our mistakes, and the mistakes of our forebears, we would end up in an infinite cycle; always going in circles, repeating that which we have so foolishly forgotten.

Objects from our history all tell our stories, and whilst books can spell out a story word by word, it is the photographs that often tell the most impactful stories. Through old pictures, we not only get to witness a story, but we also see the instigators of them. Yet still, photographs hold much more than just a story.

Be it an old photograph of your city - you get to see a glimpse of what your grandparents saw every day, even if it is a quick glance, you get to partially understand, the way they used to live their life. Take a photo that depicts the war of past generations - it is one thing to read about the implications of such conflicts and another to see those consequences through your own eyes.

Were it not for my grandma saving all the photos from her life in a neat box, tucked away in an old cupboard, I would have never met people whose blood still runs with my own. Her photos, along with her commentary, told a hundred stories, which would never have been heard if those photos were left forgotten. And that is only one box filled with a handful of photographs from one grandmother.

There are about millions of others like her, keeping old photos in cupboards, or at galleries, or, in this day and age, in their phones. Each photo telling a story, only waiting for someone, like you, to listen.

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