comment spam, memory lane edition :

I recently discovered Grant McCraken’s blog at the “intersection of anthropology and economics”.

In response to a post about memory in the digital photo era, I recalled that:

At my grandmother’s funeral recently, we had all the photo albums that my grandfather (who passed several years before) on hand. My grandfather was obsessively organized. Each photo album was broken down into 10 year spans, and each photo was labeled with “who” and “when” and “where.”

It was a fantastic process for all of us to look through those albums. My grandfather wasn’t particularly sentimental, though, so there was no cataloguing of "why." The photo captions had all the emotion of a booking photo. I found this fascinating.

I also found it fascinating about what my grandfather had thought to keep. He had spent his entire working life in sales for Pontiac Motors, so in addition to the family/holiday photos there were also photos of the things like the parts room in a Pontiac dealership in Duluth, MN.

If I ever go back and get my MA, I think I'd most like to study some form of visual anthropology. I think that not only the way that we frame our subjects, but also the subjects we choose to frame says enormous amounts about our individual and social cultures. Our photographic history is as important as an oral or written history for understanding our ways of seeing and thus who we are.