Circa 1910 – found memories

Based on a packet of negatives found amongst some family memorabilia, the work explores a family holiday for which there is no other known record except for this packet of negatives. The people in these photographs have given us their memories of their holiday. They are events that are completely disassociated with the present family except for being recognizably pictures of our great grandfather in the group of travellers.

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The negatives are in the ‘postcard’ format of the time representing their contemporary technology. Uncharacteristically informal for the period, they represent the transition between studio photographs and portable camera formats combining with the advent of international tourism. The aspect of memory and time and a loss of connection with these people is very real.

In ‘Positions’, Jacques Derrida discusses how meaning in the West is defined in terms of binary oppositions “one of the two terms governs the other.” The cultural experience of the tourist on holiday and the photographic memorabilia is placed against the manifestation and enduring nature of the rocks of Clovelly Beach headland.

Fabric and rock were introduced to convey time and the fragility of memory, ties and connections to events and people in the past. The pink fabric is antique, belonging to my grandmother and the striped silk is contemporary. The rocks were screen printed on printing paper with an overlay of photocopied imagery of ephemeral, cultural and social relationships represented by the knots and folds of fabric.


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