|dc.description.abstract||This study aims to alert people to the possible loss of their photographic heritage through changes arising from the shift to digital technologies for capture, storage and production of images. Although the emphasis is on domestic photography this aspect is viewed alongside the work of skilled amateur and professional photographers. The basis for this work is the paradoxical notion of a surfeit of digital images possibly leaving fewer traces than the small number of photographs from past eras.
A wide range of literature, academic and non academic, is examined, while surveys and interviews were conducted with year 8 children and a purposive sample of male and female adults, chosen across a range of age groups with differing levels of photographic experience. Underpinning the study is a technology education approach which is reflected in the development of practical, and potentially practical, outcomes.
In considering why photographs/images are important, memory, identity and transmission of culture are addressed through examples drawn from various times and different cultural settings. Culture is viewed as an information-based system, and a model is developed which maps relationships between culture, knowledge and information. The reduction in family size is seen as an additional factor which may decrease the likelihood of personal knowledge in visual formats surviving for succeeding generations.
A second aspect covered is how photographic practices and technologies have changed over time. This section is organised chronologically and illustrated by instances taken from a personal photographic collection spanning around 140 years. The personal perspective is supplemented by sample data and contextualised within timelines which include overseas occurrences. Within the digital era, it is possible to see through respondent data and literature how major changes in practices and technologies have occurred over a very short time.
These changes form the basis for actual and suggested actions intended to address the question of what can be done to effectively conserve the photographic heritage. Three overlapping facets are considered: technology education, community archives and personal archiving systems. Within each context gaps are identified which become sites for developing new ideas. These include planned adult technology education, organised links between private photography and community archives and easy ways of embedding information in graphic files. From participant data a gap was evident between people’s intentions and actions regarding their photographs/ images, hence the desirability of making it easier for people to convert intentions to actions.
To counteract the changing practices placing photographs/images at risk, it is recommended that important digital images are selected, embedded with information, and that multiple manifestations of these - digital and non digital - are saved with their whereabouts known to others. The means of doing this must be simple and consume little time. This is the challenge.||