Where Do Photographs Go After Death?

Self-Portrait by French Artist Hippolyte Bayard

Terry Pitts writes, “Almost from the moment its invention was made public in 1839, photography embraced death. I immediately think of French artist Hippolyte Bayard who, in 1840, famously made a self-portrait as a drowned man. Nineteenth century commercial photographers quickly discovered there was a business to be had making portraits of the newly deceased – usually posed to look as if they were sleeping. Not surprisingly, the act of leafing through a photograph album or discovering a cache of family photographs is a staple (more often a cliché) of literature.”

This is the latest post in a blog on literature and book collecting, with an emphasis on W.G. Sebald and novels with embedded photographs.

“I have inherited a double tradition, of silence and bereavement, where the dead, still everywhere present after twenty, thirty, or fifty years, appear only in empty silences, maintaining a violent presence of black holes skirted by speech but thereby made manifest in the movement of a story: blanks in album pages, pictures that look to be perpetually in flames but not completely consumed to the point where their shadow, their odor, have become indiscernible.” – W.G. Sebald

[Via: Sebald.WordPress.com]

Chris Malinao

About Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.

Vintage Argus Seventy-Five 75 TLR Box Camera Flash Leather Case Antique Bakelite picture
Vintage Argus Seventy-Five 75 TLR Box Camera Flash Leather Case Antique Bakelite
Vintage Kodak Brownie Holiday Camera Flash Macro Lens Manual Antique Photography picture
Vintage Kodak Brownie Holiday Camera Flash Macro Lens Manual Antique Photography
Lot of 6 Polaroid Cameras Job Pro, OneStep Flash, 600, Pronto, One Step Close Up picture
Lot of 6 Polaroid Cameras Job Pro, OneStep Flash, 600, Pronto, One Step Close Up
Vintage Minolta Baby BC-III Flash Unit in Case + Bracket picture
Vintage Minolta Baby BC-III Flash Unit in Case + Bracket
2 Sylvania Blue Dot Flash Flash Bars for Polaroid Cameras NEW OLD STOCK picture
2 Sylvania Blue Dot Flash Flash Bars for Polaroid Cameras NEW OLD STOCK