It's a good question, Murray, and one I've often pondered. Without wanting to be morbid, I'm the same age as you, but increasingly aware that the years are passing by - now more behind me than there are ahead of me - and that I shouldn't hang about if I'm to leave anything worthwhile on the planet after I've gone up a chimney in a cloud of smoke. I've made arrangements for a local museum to take possession of my collection of 4,000 Westcountry mining slides from the early 70s onwards. As regards the (allegedly!) creative material, I hope that the relatively small number of my favourite prints that I've mounted and framed might make it as far as the local auction house even if all the rest is skipped.
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
Perhaps the only work that is guaranteed to survive is that which I have had published, because somebody somewhere will always have a copy of it (even if it's only the publisher!)
One other point for anyone who hopes their work will outlast them - don't just remember to record on it who you are/were and when and where a shot was taken, make sure that the information stays put. A friend of mine recently bought a framed b/w print of a heavy horse at work on a farm at a local auction. It was obviously shot, framed and mounted many years ago and will grace his lounge but sadly there is just a square outline on the back where a gummed sticky label bearing all the details presumably once was.
I think that because some people consider my work to have some value and because there's a fair number of people who already own or collect my work I may leave some footprints behind. The biggest footprint will be that I photograph scenes and places that will not be so natural or pristine in 20 or 50 years. You can still go out west and find Carleton Watkins like scenes , in 50 years the spread of "development" will mean condos, malls and parking lots are everywhere. The only places of true nature left will be the National Parks. If I leave anything behind me it is at least a recording of what we have all lost.
Last edited by Early Riser; 07-05-2007 at 08:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I believe my legacy will be my dance work. Ballets de San Juan already has an archive of 20+ years of my work; when they had their 50th anniversary a couple of years ago, I mounted an exhibition of my work as part of their celebration.
But I'm even more excited by the dancers who have saved my work in their personal albums. I really like the thought that some day 40-50 years from now their grand-daughters will look through these albums and be amazed at how beautiful their grannys were back when they were young dancers! I'm proud that I will have helped make that possible.
Contrary to what my previous post that has a link to the work by an anthroplogist who studied the photographs of an ordinary person implies, in most cases, I assume, people don't accidentally discover things that were left behind.
I kind of think that it depends on the interest of the future generation also. Quite frankly when we the current look back the past, what do we have in our minds? So, if your streets are curently interesting enough with interesting enough histories to talk about, maybe the record-keeping works you do now will have the future. That means you may have to some kind of platform pass on to the future generation. And do you want to be credited as who you are? If you're not someone in your life time, you'll probably be known as a "unknown" photographer.
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Will the images we make for ourselves have a life after we've gone?
The ugly truth is that most of the output of most photographers will be unceremoniously dumped on their deaths - the proportion rises to almost 100% in the case of non-pro enthusiasts.
David, it is nice answer to Murray, and very likely to happen. People today, at least in the West, just lost interest for anything, thanks to internet and TV. Why anyone will preserve anything when he can download it for free. However people change with time, and I see very slim chance to change toward “better”. And for photographs: can we see how many people are at all interested in photography (even among photographers), how many convenience sake just got digital camera shooting with two cameras at once, art is nearly dead, all people care for is that it is cheap (just lack of interest). When you are gone your room will be simple cleaned up.
I too imagine that my photos, negatives and slides are likely to be "unceremoniously dumped" upon my demise. But there is one group of 'chromes that I hope I can manage to pass on to a relative as yet unborn.
I got my first "serious camera", a Nikon Nikkormat FT-2 in 1977. I had recently finished grad school and was working in Lower Manhattan. One, sunny/16 weekend day I went downtown and shot a lot of pics of certain landmark from various different locations. It was easy to do, as the landmark was the then recently completed World Trade Center towers that loomed all over Lower Manhattan.
On that day, I'm almost certain I mused that these towers would long outlast me. I hope I can pass these slides along to someone who, having been born well after 9/11/01, will look in awe at what a massive complex the WTC was and yet how ephemeral it proved to be.
there is also one big problem more. Digital images are associated with manipulation and essential change automatically, regardless change degree. It is on the way to get name photography. If so all photographs will come into category "do not beleive in it". It is not difficult to me to beleive that also all our history based on photo documentations will be lost, all books with "photographs" will also be in trouble to survive.
Simple when one say "a photograph" it means automatically something cold emotions, and do not beleive, that is no value. I think that people heading to day when only internet and TV will be to "beleve in".
I don't really think about a place in history for me or my photography. I'm a few years older than you and I do think about the remaining years being fewer and fewer so I do my best to enjoy my life now. If something of any value is left behind great, if not that's ok to. I don't do it to leave a legacy I do it to live now.
I practice photography but do not consider myself to be an artist.
I believe there is a strong tendency for aging artists to impart an exaggerated importance to their later work - if only because they are short of time to continue producing it.
I'm only 34 years old but I fully expect that if any of my work will prove of value to those who outlive me - it will be produced sooner rather than later.
That simply seems to be the way of things.
But I have no expectations that anything I produce will receive any attention when I'm gone. My photography is for my own satisfaction and for no other purpose.