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digital photos are only preserved through their use—if one ignores them, the information stored on them will also be lost for future generations. [63]

It is quite possible that the apprehension about the instability of digital photographs and the efforts to secure their longevity is nothing more than the reflex of a «traditional (Old European) self-conception of culture…. [t]ransatlantic media cultures have long since accentuated the technologies of multi-media and space-seizing transmission—the dataflows in the Internet.» [64] In the sense of an information society, ‹instability› can be regarded as a positive value: It stands for dynamic transmission, unobstructed circulation, and for communication that is not bound to real space; it stands for virtuality as the ability to experience what is possible. In contrast, analog photography hangs on to what is past; its gesture is a clinging—to a state of visible reality, to public and private occurrences, to fleeting moments in everyday life. Its great subjects, the topography of urban and suburban life and the visualization of biography and identity are (or were) being sustained by a concept of remembrance that binds historical tradition and


personal memory to material evidence. Fifteen years after the beginning of the debate over the ‹end of photography› one can establish that the radical change from analog to digital technology has not invalidated the notions of representation, identity and memory associated with the photographic dispositive—rather it contributes to a destabilization of these notions. In the environment of electronic media, digital photography constitutes a threshold phenomenon: It is located so to speak at the transition from old storage media to new communication media and their paradigms.