The snapshot tradition

The pictures made with the film Leica are snapshots and, and as such, they belong to the tradition of the snapshot image culture. Traditionally, snapshot photography is  one in which the images  are almost always produced for and circulated within,  the private realm, and its meaning and significance are  imbedded in individual and rarely rational affective responses. 

The snapshot  tradition has been interpreted as a form of vernacular photography,  and  this culture  is usually interpreted as  pictures made by everyday  folk about their everyday life;  or more specifically,   "the unself-conscious efforts of common people . . . to create satisfying patterns in the realities of everyday life. 

This results in a gap between the unruly vernacular culture and the modernist,  hermeticizing discourse  of the art institution, with its emphasis on autonomy, authorship, uniqueness and universality.   

 This vernacular culture insists on lived experience, or a rhetoric of authenticity, works within specific social and cultural conventions, and emphasises personal narrative. For most of us, snapshots mean something because they preserve a memory, capture a moment, or depict a friend, family member or loved one. -These are the  same themes that Kodak promoted for decades. From a personal point of view the significance of snapshot aesthetics often revolves around what we see and feel when viewing snapshots, rather than what they mean to art historians, curators, and collectors.  

However, by the 1960s, "the idea of the 'snapshot aesthetic' began to gain currency in art photography circles. Photographers like Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand prowled the streets of New York with handheld cameras, producing images that seemed random, accidental, and caught on the fly.  This  frame of this modernist aesthetic in  the art institution then selected snapshots within its own way of seeing: snapshots  are  found objects and the  art institution selected snapshots with strange visual details, puzzling scenarios, artful compositional elements, playful experimentation, whimsy, and visual accident to put on the gallery wall.  

The aim is to elevate or  transform the snapshot into an accidental masterpiece, suitable for framing and exhibition alongside the other great works of painting, sculpture, and architecture that comprise the art institution's  collection. As a result the quirky visual appeal these snapshots  is referenced to Surrealism, there by implying that the everyday snapshooter has consciously or unconsciously internalized the aesthetic rhetoric of the European avant-garde  in the mid 20th century.