journal-jpg.net is an online photographic installation in which the viewer becomes a participant in the work’s destruction. The website displays one photograph at a time. Each photograph is a personal reflection in the form of an innocuous colour snapshot accompanied by a date and time. With every unique view the quality of the image is degraded, and the image file is permanently and irreversibly altered. This process of degradation continues until the photograph has been reduced to a pattern of pixelated blocks. No originals are preserved – only the user’s browser cache, downloads, or screen grabs might offer evidence of the image’s existence.
Once a cycle is finished a new photograph is displayed and the process starts again.
When a visitor views an image on the site they both bring it to life and contribute to its destruction. The flow of different iterations disrupt a singular reading of the photograph, and challenges the viewer to reconsider the nature of their participation in the production and consumption of images. The installation also questions the role of downloads and screen grabs as ubiquitous and intuitive methods of reproducing and preserving digital content. In the context of this work downloads and screen grabs seem, in one sense, to be irrelevant, because they are bound to an image that no longer exists, a moment of time passed. Simultaneously, however, the installation reclaims for such acts of digital reproduction the original and most primal function of photography: the preservation of a moment of lost time.