I thought “Image, Archive and Event: Tracking the Archive’s Odyssey” by Laura Wexler and Lauren Tilton was incredibly interesting and innovative. They talked about the relationship between the idea of a photo and an archive. Laura Wexler talked about an assignment she assigns in one of her classes every semester. In this assignment, students are instructed to find a set of photos and the text to create an archive. One student came across a photo of her father when he was a medic in the Vietnam War. She asked her father about the certain photo and he showed her an entire album of his time in war. Through the set of photos, she realized the immense travesty her father had experienced during his time in war. This one photo led her to conceptualize a new side of her father and his experience with PTSD. This archive changed her interpretation of reality.
On a separate note, Laura Wexler also touched upon Frederick Douglass and his various portraits. Wexler explained that Douglass made his own archive of portraits because they countered the representation of African Americans as less than other citizens. She explained that one can not understand a single portrait of Douglass, but have too see all the portraits as an archive.
Through the various examples, this talk made me realize how powerful images can be and how much we are still learning about history through photographs.