The notion of historical distance has a very clear rationale; the closer we are to the events of our own time the harder it is to see those forces that shape the actual lived conditions of a particular moment. The passage of time, then, allows us to place this sequence of events in a certain context and, in the process, to find the connection between seemingly disconnected periods in order to trace those key moments that have determined the present. At the same time, this separation of events from the tumultuous experience of how they occurred is always a partly artificial one, as societies and cultures are dynamic entities. The past becomes something that is narrated, a kind of story. Photography has a familiar role to play here as well, given the seductively readable way in which it seems to “fix” the past and yet the distance it provides is still of a necessarily ambiguous sort, attentive to the particularities of the moment – a photograph is hardly ever “timeless” in that sense – but offering no certainty at all as to how it should be understood.
Today, via iPhone.