Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A Life In Pictures...

This collection of polaroid images has spread like wildfire across photography blogs recently, so I'm sure by this point some of you must have stumbled across it.  Flicking through the collection, that is accompanied by no additional information, you realise that not only is everything dated and categorised into months, but in fact there is one image for every day between the years of 1979 and 1997.  Day by day, month by month, you become drawn into the collection with voyeuristic delight.  The collection belongs to Jamie Livingston, who in 1979 as a young film student, decided to take one Polaroid everyday of his life.  Looking through the images you get a sense of that you shouldn't be there, like glancing though someone's journal, as you are presented with flashes of faces, small details, silent moments, picnics and parties.   The shots are hardly 'composed' yet retain a sense of humour and become quietly moving.  You begin to familiarise yourself with the photographer as faces reoccur, and the collection not only becomes a collection of his life, but a document of the time- 80s haircuts, the World Trade Centre, the colour changing as the seasons and fashions change, television shots (particularly telling is one image of Diana on the day she died).

In 1997 however, the images take a darker turn as images begin to crop up of the photographer in hospital, then of a large scar across his head.  It becomes obvious theat the photograper is ill.  In October an image, possibly the most poignant of all, of a single gold wedding ring appears.  Later on that month the images of the photographer in hospital occur again.  On 25th October 1997 the collection abruptly halts.  The photographer has died.

The collection is at once sporadic and mundane, touching, poignant and infused with a bright sense of humour.  I highly recommend checking it out.

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