Ever notice on road trips those historical markers by the roadside. Here Once Stood or Here in 1874 there used to be etc.
I was struck the other day that photographs do the same thing. They ask us to stop and remember.
I help curate the art shows at Everybody’s Coffee. We met with a photographer whose work isn’t exactly limited to but is somewhat devoted to: the everyday. Such as signs, or rusty locks, or chain-link fences. Sometimes it isn’t the people in a picture but the fact the girl is wearing a certain coat that cause us to go, oh my God, I had one of those! We react to the memory and not the subject.
We are struck by the familiar or thrown backwards to our childhood/youth. A good artist will do that, create a touchstone or bridge with their listener, reader, viewer. Spark an emotional connection.
But it’s only a stupid sign!
The artist told us that people who buy his prints are drawn to his photos because they remember: hey, we got engaged at that restaurant, I walked by that place and now it’s no longer there,
The photos are memorials to the everyday life, to a time past, to a place that no longer exists. We pull over to stop and remember, to pay tribute. Or curse.