What does it mean that we’re constantly filtering the present with the aesthetic of the past?
There’s an odd allure to loudly denying your particular time and place.
Feeling nostalgic for a time you never actually knew is a deeply unsettling contemporary phenomenon. For some people, it means clawing through junk shops in pursuit of the perfect brass-lensed tailboard camera, but for most of us, it means applying the Lord Kelvin filter to a hasty snapshot of last night’s dessert. So is that vague, manufactured nostalgia culturally toxic, per Simon Reynolds’ Retromania (and the cavalcade of nervous think-y reviews it inspired)? Maybe – but it’s weirdly gratifying, too, tapping into the sense “that a photograph is itself a precious object,” as New York Magazine put it recently.