"Another argument for why we are obliged now, more than ever before, to discern what photography we deem important, is because in this post-war period we are in the process of creating an archive of memories..."
"For many in Sri Lanka and around the globe, war is generic. Images of war victims are anonymous and nonspecific. If the caption on a photograph of a child war victim is altered, the meaning of the image can be changed and the photo reused in different contexts and by different parties – by LTTE advocates, different political factions, or by the Sri Lankan government. Do photographs of war victims necessarily vivify the condemnation of war? No. The same photograph that can be used as a call for peace can be used as a cry for revenge, as exaltation of a warring party, as acknowledgement that terrible things happen, or even as intimation that terrible things will continue to happen. The uses of the same Sri Lankan war footage can be diverse, from the promotion of the military, to appeals for peace, to ammunition for Human Rights activists. While photographs have a creator and so represent the view of someone, photographer intent does not necessarily determine the meaning of a photograph – processed images take on a life of their own depending on what context they are viewed in, and by whom. How a photograph is understood depends on the organizing idea, the moment, the place, the uses and the identification of the picture. So what should we take a photograph to mean? It might seem that photographs are simply a crude statement of fact addressed to the eye. But this belief is misleading and outdated. Photographs, as evidenced by their numerous adaptable uses are both objective record and personal testimony, a faithful copy or transcription of reality and an interpretation of that reality."
A valuable argument for the archivist to keep in mind.