Deceptive in the ease of their creation, diminutive size, and sheer abundance, snapshots are often thought of as the mostinnocent type of photography. But snapshots are complex and willful picturespremeditated, fussed over, and oftenpredetermined. The postures we adopt, the gestures we pantomime, the exaggerated facial expressions we compose and try to hold for a split second are all meant to express the emotional weight of a certain moment. In a time when digital cameras make photography all too easy, it is fascinating to look back on a day when image making was more deliberate.
Now Is Then features images from the 1920s through the 1960s, the golden age of snapshot photography. The photosquirky, elegant, heartbreaking, and heart-warmingboth celebrate and question the conventions of snapshot photography. Texts by well-known visual culture critics offer fresh perspectives on the snapshots and their power over us. Unlike previous explorations of vernacular photography, Now Is Then takes a step forward to look at the broader cultural impact of snapshotswhy we make them, how we use them, why they become relics, and, most importantly, what they reveal about us.