Ed Kashi is also a filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are the signatures of his work. Kashi’s complex imagery has been recognized for its compelling rendering of the human condition. In 2002, Kashi and his wife, writer / filmmaker Julie Winokur, founded Talking Eyes Media. The non-profit company has produced numerous short films and multimedia pieces that explore significant social issues.
He write this Article about using photo archives …
As a photographer, my archive houses many of my memories and the personal experiences attached to the creation of those photographs. Over time I have come to appreciate the value of my archive as something more than a simple repository of those images and associated memories. This growing, thriving and continually evolving organism has become a living library with untold value. By value I’m not speaking about the monetary potential, which is important and vital, but to the greater meanings, connections and possibilities of interpretation that it offers. In a sense, my library of images, made over a nearly 30-year period, offers an opportunity for further explorations into my work and who I am.
Over time, as one accumulates many thousands and even hundreds of thousands of photographs, your archive becomes more than the individual images and stories, instead forming a whole larger than its parts. In looking over your work, the images start to have meaning and connections amongst themselves that you can’t necessarily recognize in the moment, or when you’re editing for purpose. Patterns of style, theme, issue, geography, mood, design, etc. begin to emerge and with them great potential for discovery. Images are not just historical record, but also a record of your growth as a photographer and as a human being. It’s a rewarding practice whether you’ve been photographing for a few years or a few decades, to use your archive as a tool to make these new discoveries. And even though this journey through your photographic past and present might prove disappointing at times, revealing weaknesses or blind spots, you can still gain valuable and rich insights. It’s always hardest to examine yourself closely but when you allow for vulnerability, many powerful and rewarding epiphanies are sure to come.