March 2015

Sara Cwynar, Girl from Contact Sheet 2 (Darkroom Manuals), 2013. Courtesy the artist and Foxy Production, New York.
How has photography’s shift affected you? This month's photo, Girl from Contact Sheet 2 (Darkroom Manuals), shows an uncertain history of manipulation or data loss. Look closely. Its digital blur suggests what happens when photography straddles two worlds. How has the dramatic shift from print to digital impacted you? What does this image say about the gains and losses of this transition? Respond to this picture and our questions with text, photos, videos, or audio files, and we'll feature your response on our website.

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Between Two Worlds: Photography's Radical Shift from Analog Memories to Digital Noise

As a baby boomer, I witnessed the shift from a visual culture that was predominantly made up of black-and-white images to one dominated by color. Today’s millennials are witnessing an even more radical change as image production and distribution shifts from analog to digital. Though made in 2014, Sara Cwynar’s mysterious Girl from Contact Sheet 2 (Darkroom Manuals), manages somehow to encompass all of these generational changes, evoking a world that is simultaneously nostalgic, contemporary, and even a bit futuristic.

If you break the picture down you see that it’s a black-and-white image of what would appear to be a young girl, perhaps a class photo or maybe a picture from a photo booth. It’s definitely something composed and institutional, not spontaneous. There appear to be curtains behind her though they could be part of the obscuring noise, it’s not clear. She’s looking at us, but she’s…