“Even the people who take them don’t look at them any more…” says film director Wim Wenders in a recent interview with the BBC, reflecting on the legions and legions of photos taken on mobile phones every day.
Photography is more alive than ever, he suggests, but at the same time more dead than ever. “The trouble with iPhone pictures is nobody sees them.”
But even for those of us who put considerable time and effort into not only snapping away with a camera – but in processing, captioning, sorting and sharing our photos – it begs the question: how do we grapple with the challenge of not producing more photos than we can properly process?
Where do we find those moments we truly treasure?
And which are the photos that we do remember, at the end of the day?
Is it that single face, of dignity restored?
Marching through Oslo, Norway, Yoshiko Tanaka, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima as the only one among her friends at school, celebrates that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Arms has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Scars running deep, it’s only for a few years that she has spoken publicly about her experience. © Albin Hillert, December 2017
Is it the photo that reveals self-contradiction and conflict, in a context where respect and collaboration are so dearly needed?
“Shame, shame, shame,” shouts a group of sex workers as the Positive Flame, described as a “torch of inclusion” is lit at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. The torch is to connect the 2018 conference with the 2020 conference, which is expected to take place in the United States, and the protestors object because people from key populations as well as other groups, such as Muslims, may have difficilties getting a visa to travel to the United States. “No conference in the United States, no conference in the United States,” they went on to chant. The Positive Flame is intended to travel from one International AIDS Conference to the next, and echoes the Olympic Flame that was introduced at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928. © Albin Hillert, July 2018
Is it when smoke rises in the distance, creating the impression of a sunset?
A cloud of heavy smoke rises to cover the sun in the distance, as a severely hot summer has set thousands upon thousands of acres of forest land on fire in Kårböle, Ljusdal, Sweden, forcing people to evacuate their homes and villages to escape the flames. © Albin Hillert, July 2018
The picture of a calm encounter between young and old?
Young and old meet in Bogis-Bossey, in the Swiss countryside near Geneva. © Albin Hillert, June 2018
Is it that single image, when you just happened to be there as the moment flew by?
A girl runs through the centre of the colonial town of Trinidad, Cuba. © Albin Hillert, September 2015
When the littlest of people enters the stage, only to accidentally steal the show?
Young girl Maya joins dancers on stage, during a cultural night of song and dance offered to visitors to Bogotá. © Albin Hillert, April 2018
Is it when you know you’ve been there to capture a seemingly small thing, but which you realize carries great meaning, for someone?
A newborn child holds their parent’s index finger, as they lie down to sleep. © Albin Hillert, October 2016
The one that doesn’t strike your interest immediately, but grows on you as you keep looking?
A man speaks on the phone in the Jerusalem Old Town. © Albin Hillert, May 2016
Or is it that photo you weren’t planning to take, but which just had to appear before your eyes as you were heading home?
People watch the sun rise over the dunes of Erg Chebbi, one of Morocco’s two Saharan seas of sand dunes. © Albin Hillert, January 2018