Conversation often begins with a question, much like art-making. Words offer us the potential to better know one another, while the visual offers knowledge and understanding of constructs both abstract and concrete, past and present. Every endeavor is also a call in search of a response. But the response from the visual becomes more obscure, since what we see creates a gap between what we know and what we think we know.

Together, Zora J. Murff and Rana Young began mining their own family histories, exploring the void left by an absent parent. The images in the series “Fade Like a Sigh” reflect their dialogues of this shared experience. Using their small, personal collections of family photographs and reinterpreting them through their own contemporary imagery, Murff and Young highlight the complicated relationship between photographic record and the fragmented and abstract nature of memory.

This collaboration began in 2017 and is ongoing.

Zora J. Murff and Rana Young

If you’d like to see more work like this, we’d recommend the following features: Stories from the Kitchen Table, Astrid Reischwitz’s series on her childhood memories of a farmhouse in rural Germany—composed using images, living plants and vintage textiles; Hiroshima Graph, a project about memory on the Japanese island of Okunoshima, an area with a dark and violent history; and Sauna: Requiem from the North, an elegant and intimate series on life, family, and death in a remote northern archipelago off the coast of Sweden.