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Make the Image a Photograph Again

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A photograph lasts as long as a million unspoken words. A photograph is worth one second more than infinite time; it holds light as the memory, though looking at a photograph, we forget that. A photograph is created as a measure of immateriality that stretches when you garnish a print with descriptional ink and tape on its backside, and stick it to the fridge or wall. A photograph can cause one to fall in love with a moment that once barely held complacency, or even irrelevance. A photograph can hurt; it can slam truth to the face that glances upon it, like a political screamer. A tangible photograph can stain an intangible memory. A memory can stain a photograph like a bloody war, reincarnated by a breathtaking image. A photograph can be shot like a bullet of simple curiosity. A photograph can have no intention at all, like an identity yet to be discovered. It yields discovery. A photograph can only be born if it’s creator is present in the world outside their own.

Can’t we all recall encountering at least one of these qualities when holding a photograph? Of course. But somehow lately, the impacts of a photograph have lessened. They have become mundane visuals of everyday encounters in media. We scroll past photos casually on tiny screens by the brush of a thumb or mousepad–mindless and unaffected. Often now, photos seem to be taken often with the sole intention of impressing other people on the receiving side of the screen. The primal intention of a photograph has descended to merely a banal image in the background of life in today’s culture.

I hold a photograph in my hand. Something I brought to life by the act of light hitting a glass, hitting a strip of film, splashed with chemicals, and born in an unconventional hospital of dim red lamp bulbs. I hang the piece of paper on a string with clothes pin to drip dry. Unpinning the dry photograph, I reveal it to myself for the first time in better lighting. This tangible photo embodies a moment I chose to freeze and now I hold it in my hands. For its grain and rawness, it does not seem to hold the same qualities as an image on a screen, disrupted by a glare. A printed photograph holds its content, and its process of creation, as one.

Film photography is not the only lasting art of the printed physicality of a photograph. However, in the shade of the digital age, film photography is something to keep a grasp on. Mental memories fade, computers crash, phones die out, yet a photograph holds immortality. Support film photography by shooting film photography.

Gabrielle Tribelli | Staff Editor

Photos credited to: Gabrielle Tribelli

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