The Album

An album is a collection of pictures that we put together often to memorialize a particular trip we have taken or to remember a memorable event in our lives. Until viewing Boltanski’s work, I always thought of albums as deeply personal and individual. However, upon review of many of my own albums, I have seen the very effect which Boltanski’s work attempted to exhibit – photo albums are common to everyone and the moments we capture are most often simply a reproduction of cliche´s. Above are a few photographs taken from an album I created after a six week study abroad program I attended in Santander, Spain while I was in high school. I lived with a host family (photo 4) with one of my best friends who’s name is also Caroline. While thumbing through my old photographs from this trip, I was amazed to see how cliche´many of our photographs together were. We have the classic beach picture, the picture from a bull fight, the picture of us on the bus we rode to school everyday, the picture from our trip into the mountains, etc., etc. The list really could go on as these are only a sampling of the actual album, which contains more than a hundred photographs from this trip. While I look at these images and remember the memories associated with each event, I suppose in the end Boltanski is right: in many years if someone were to look at these photographs and not know who we were, we would merely be stand-ins for anyone else to identify with our images of typical family trips and traditional poses.

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