Are You Sure You Know What a Photograph Is?


As a child, I would sit on the balcony of our Dhaka apartment overlooking the pond and flip through our two family photo albums. After the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971, film was scarce and our camera had broken. With nowhere to get it repaired or to buy film, we had no more family photos for almost a decade. There are no photos of me until I was 8 years old. The tiny, gemlike black-and-white prints of my parents and older brother were fragments of my history that, as curator Glen Helfand said, "captured a fraction of a second of activity and fueled narratives for generations." These images were absorbed by my soul, stored as evidence of the stories of my family from before my birth, and are now on my kids' iPhones.

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