Vernacular photos – ordinary personal snapshots and family photos (and the feelings, memories, thoughts and information these evoke).
In his book Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance the critic and photographic historian Geoffrey Batchen traces the history and significance of ‘vernacular photographic objects’ suggesting that photography has a mnemonic function. Batchen also recognizes that the image requires some form transformation, and that the photograph is touched, if it is to function properly as a reminder or memento.
Photography replaces the immediate, physically embracing experience of involuntary memory with itself, with photographic images that are necessarily historical, coherent, informational. To continue to induce the experience of personal memory, therefore, a photograph has to be transformed. Something has to be done to it to continually drag it (and us) out of the past and into the present. And the subject of the photograph has to be similarly transformed, from somebody merely seen into someone really felt, from an image viewed at a distance on the wall into an emotional exchange transacted in the heart.