grain and grit

so i was reading this article on a photographer who was in iran during the revolution of 1978-1979, and it had this real cool bit on photo grain that i wanted to share with joo all:

even those of us who have never directly experienced the chaos of revolution can feel that revolution is a street phenomenon, part of the urban dynamic in which humanity flows through the space of the city, shaped by its streets and architecture, not unlike electricity or the water supply. it is those rhythms that are at the core of the link between the revolution in the streets and non-revolutionary street photography, which has long had the graininess of its emulsion act as a signifier of the grittiness of street life itself. graininess has had a long historical association with photographs that are ‘tough’ to make, as if the grain itself was an indicator of difficulty. it is not only grain and grit that are shared. the randomness of urban life – the varied patterns of building facades and human motion – show up in both the daily urban routine and in the non-quotidian revolutionary moment. photography, freezing the moment, can reveal what no eventual winner of a revolution will acknowledge – the random quality of the events leading up to the outcome.

— bill jeffries on akbar nazemi’s photo exhibit currently showing at the North Shore’s Presentation House Gallery until April 17th.

Leave a comment