Family Photograph Appreciation – Richard Chlafen

In the article, Family Photograph Appreciation, Richard Chalfen discusses a teenage view
of the relation between family snapshots and home videos.Hefirst explains the value of
personal photos using an example of natural or humanly coerced disasters and the mourning of
visual traces of the past, or in other words, photographs.Family photographs are a very
important aspect of peoples lives and without them we may never remember our past.By
looking at snapshots, slides, home movies, etc, we stimulate our memory of important dates and
events.He asks many questions about memory and video verses photography which will be
discussed with teens he has interviewed.
Chalfen has structured an exploratory project that asked a small sample of thirty
teenagers, living in the Cambridge/Boston areas of Massachusetts to evaluate the relative merits
of using still photography and/or videography as a preferred medium of family photography.
(Richard Chalfen) He conducted the interviews with two teens at a time while having a meal in a
small restaurant.He was interested in their opinions on comparing photography and
videography, which came out to be very interesting.
The teens explained to him about the effects of video tapes and how they were a way of
"being there" all over again.Some of them felt it was more realistic than flipping through a
picture album.Here we will introduce a few more of the theories made by teens during their
interviews.Videotapes seem to supply the viewer with more information and makes it easy to
remember.You get sound and movement to enhance the overall effect which brings you to see
the whole experience.In many interviews the teens did not feel that videos were the best way to
go.By looking at photographs it set off a whole lot of memories, not just what happened play by
play like a home video.By looking at photographs you can use your imagina…


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