”The nature of photography is the pose”, asserts the French philosopher Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Something has posed before the camera lens and is captured for eternity. “Click” – a halt in the continuum of time. Something took place there and then, and reminds us of our mortality and the transitoriness of all things.
In this exhibition it is Tromsø which poses, with people and milieus as photographic fragments of the city’s immediate and distant past. Recognisable to some, alien to others. Here are shown images from Tromsø ranging from portraits of citizens in the mid-1800s to today’s busy crowded centre. Persuasive historical sources in possession of “the photograph’s authority”, as culture critic Susan Sontag formulated it in her collection of essays entitled On Photography.
Perhaps it is here the magic of the photograph lies: its ability to confirm a bygone reality by creating proximity and participation.
The exhibition is a part of an ongoing project in the museum, to publish the the archives on the museums’s wesbite.
”Photographs turn the past into an object of tender regard, scrambling moral distinctions and disarming historical judgements by the generalized pathos of looking at time past.”
Susan Sontag, On Photography
Images from the exhibition opening