CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES

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THE EXTENDED FAMILY
 
About the Exhibit
The Extended Family is a collection of snapshots.  Most of the photographs exhibited were taken by amateur photographers - the family shutterbug, in particular.  They are a very small part of the trillions of photographs taken since the first hand-held camera was patented by George Eastman in 1885.

     The snapshot is of particular interest as a recording of everyday life.  Because snapshots are certainly not rare, and often unidentified when found, they are the humblest of what could be considered documentary photographs.  They are images of who we are and how we live - as much as can be shown in that fragment of a second that is frozen when the shutter blinks.

     In The Extended Family all but a few photographs are dated before 1965 because the patina of age makes the photograph more appealing.  Anonymous photographs inhabit equal space with those that are known because they are adoptable.  Some of the captions were copied directly from the back of the photograph.

man on honeymoon

Given enough time, many photographs do acquire an aura.  For while paintings or poems do not get better, more attractive, simply because they are older, all photographs are interesting as well as attractive if they are old enough.  It is not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad photograph - only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones.        -Susan Sontag-

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