At the start of this exercise we were introduced to the work of Daniel Meadows. A self proclaimed documentary photographer, he has spent the past 25-30 years documenting the lives of ordinary people around Britain using photography and video.
His 1973-1974, Free Photographic Omnibus Project, saw him travelling around Britain in a Double Decker Bus, photographing anyone who was willing and giving them their photograph for free. In this video on his website, he considers what those photographs mean 25 years later (2007), he notes that the photographs he took, have developed a life of their own. Some have been shown around the world, in different newspapers and stories, some remained with their families or the people photographed originally.
I think it’s interesting to consider today where our photographs, particularly those online will end up. With the rise of sites like Instagram, it seems a new breed of documentary photographers has been born. Their images (mine included) are now floating around the internet, perhaps they will travel much further than we imagine, or be completely lost in the sea of similar images.
It hadn’t previously occurred to me that my family photographs were actually a form of documentation. I was unaware really of what this meant as a child, I grew up having my picture taken fairly regularly, on holidays, birthdays, family gatherings. Most of these photographs were taken on film cameras (inexpensive ones) and were developed into photographs. I can clearly remember the cardboard box all these photos sat in, inside a cupboard in our hallway. Strangely enough though few of these photos ever made it out of the box and onto the walls of the house. For as long as I can remember the same family portrait photo (taken at some professional studio in the 1990’s), has hung on the wall in the sitting room.