Rob Horning ponders the significance of printed pictures:
I wouldn’t want to take the photos I have in box, scan them all, and throw them away (as I did with my CDs after I ripped them to my hard drive). The physical collection has a gravity to it that would be lost and would probably become inconceivable if it were digitized. Handling the objects seems to affect the feelings I have about what I am seeing. (I feel the same way about my long-since-scattered record collection, sacrificed because of NYC-apartment space constraints.) Paging through photo albums, too, is utterly different than scrutinizing image pools online...
With actual printed photos, there is a sense that something delicate and ineffable has managed to survive, a small miracle amidst the rampant image destruction we experience in our disposable culture. They seem to have an occult power, as pictures in lockets sometimes seem portentous, mystically imbued with significance. Digitization, though, puts photos in the same category with flickering TV images, meant to be consumed and forgotten after being experienced as entertainment. A physical archive seems to put them in a category with paintings, which invite us to take the time for contemplation.
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