The Art of the American Snapshot


Andy Grundberg

‘The Art of the American Snapshot’, Aperture, 190 (Spring 2008), 10–11

[On snapshots:] ‘Once ripped from their family-album contexts they are on the whole anonymous, banal, repetitive, trite.’

‘So much for progressivism: the snapshot was born beautiful […] only to grow into a hyperactive but physically unremarkable adulthood. Perhaps it was the mass-media’s purchase on modern life that spoiled the snapshot’s innocence. Or it could have been Surrealism, which treasured the snapshot’s chance conjunctions like an exquisite corpse and proceeded to reproduce them ad nauseum, until they lost their ability to jolt us out of the doldrums of late twentieth-century life.’

[…] ‘the snapshot trade is certainly the last refuge of the photography market. Collectors and galleries are latching onto family albums with […] zeal.’

‘Does this mean that photography is on the verge of being mined out? Or is it that at a moment when digital photography has become dominant in the mass market, our nostalgia for the silver print past is virtually boundless? One likely answer: both.’


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