As the year passes by, it comes along with a constant flow of information, images, and events. Days, weeks and months are not that different. Events pass by and are often quickly forgotten.
How do we remember them? If we remember them?
The New York Times has been looking back at the year 2018 in pictures. There Valeria Luiselli describes the same pattern with photos. News photography contributes to a constant flow of pictures being consumed instantly before they disappear in the masses of past information. They had a chance of an impact in the moment and reached it for some. Then they disappear. But there are those which connect with an important event or story and describe it in a powerful way. These pictures have been thoroughly crafted and serve the long term.
Browsing through a selection of such pictures, something new appears. The individual power of the picture. The way the story they want to tell us is integrated. The way we tell stories today.
Patterns appear. The way we treat others. The importance and use of the individual for some stories. The way we highlight and heighten individuals, in their raise and in their fall. Questions which have not disappeared yet. Crisis as an ever-present part of our life today.
As these photos remind us of the past year, they transform our memories and help to “save” them. Reflecting on the bigger picture they create leads to questions about the future. How are we going to live together in the future?
Since the last World War major parts of the western world experience a long-lasting period of peace. The photos show that peace doesn’t mean “no violence” nor “the same life for everyone”.
We can be trying to reach an ideal, but we need to acknowledge what we are creating on that journey.
We can also look at the options we have. We can choose the perspective we take and we can realize that there are still things under our control. That’s where we can act.