Mar 22 2012: Seven Snapshots from Everyday Life United By Their Square Format (c.1960s)

If yesterday’s gallery of children was unified by nothing beyond the subject, today’s equally random gallery is unified only by the square format of the photographs: the subject matter veers from a man in an aqualung and another posing on a beach in swimming trunks to a woman standing beside a window and an elderly couple photographed against the backdrop of a street (that has the odd effect of seeming back-projected rather than real). In the midst of all this falls a simple monochrome landscape showing the headstones of an unidentified cemetery: perhaps appropriately, as this, after all, is where all everyday life eventually converges. That the bordered square snapshot itself has become a kind of visual cipher for memory, as used on thousands of hipstamatic and other ‘instant visual nostalgia’ treatments for digital photographs, only multiplies the oddly atmospheric tendency surrounding this now largely obsolete format.

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