Now & Then

In their ongoing series Now & Then MANUAL repurposes remnants of past cultural and technological objects and practices utilizing advanced photographic technologies. Equally important to the work is the strong, bittersweet connection in these images with a cultural history in the process of becoming invisible.

The high definition photographic work in Now & Then represents a remarkable technical achievement compared with the primitive means of digital imaging that were available to Hill and Bloom in 1985. At the same time, and in a dual gesture of homage and irony, the work in Now & Then utilizes high def to focus on pre-digital photographic technologies that had enormous impact on cultural communications in the 20th century through reproduction means that have since largely been displaced by wireless social media. For example, LIFE magazine, first published in 1936, was for decades arguably the most powerful popular medium of social construction and consciousness at that time due largely to its savvy use of film-based photography. Prior to that, the black & white and hand-colored photographic postcards of the first half of the past century served to store and share memories of travel and events. Throughout the 20th century, snap shots became very popular, and in particular, Polaroid SX-70s offered instant photographic images to an increasingly image hungry society in the 1960s and ‘70s. And, let’s not forget the ubiquitous slide shows that were once on the leading edge of the moving-image revolution.