A Story About Nostalgia by Arizona Photographer Elaine Kessler

Recently, I took in Actor’s Theatre’s rendition of “The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” written by Mike Daisey and performed by the amazing Ron May.

The one man show offers intense and enlightening insight into the humanity of our technology.  Tracing the history of Apple and traveling to China to flesh out the narrative, the playwright depicts a unique and often dismissed perspective of the American consumer’s relationship to technology.

What struck me most about the piece was this idea: enterprise depends on “the enemy of nostalgia.”  As a photographer who captures moments to memorialize events, emotions and meaning, I am both, simultaneously, the creator AND the enemy of nostalgia.

As a creator of nostalgia, I strive to perfectly capture the essence of something that matters to someone – be it a baby’s first days on this planet, a company’s venture into its own realm of success or the final moments of someone experiencing a terminal condition.  These moments matter to people and in my pictures I aim to bottle their mood, their energy and their very spirit in files that will preserve and remind them of what once was.


As a photographer AND the enemy of nostalgia, I simultaneously create a fresh take on life by enlisting and enlivening *my* vision.  Casting my view and casing my vision in something I think is innovative or provocative lends itself to entirely new phenomena for the viewer or the client.


To live in an industry that hinges it’s existence on preserving the past while concurrently igniting new meaning is thrilling.  Photography is an exceptional form of art that depicts, sustains and initiates a vision that has been, is and could be.  It is an honor to be in a space in the world that simultaneously preserves and creates meaning for humans.



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