Preserving family history via photography is like an archaeological excavation: it involves the exposure, processing, and recording of remains. But to uncover the truth – or at least an interpretation of the ‘apparent truth’ of an image – a ‘hunt’ or ‘dig’ is required.
My project 'Excavations' explores the invisible social space of family storytelling. I make chromogenic colour prints (in the darkroom) of family photographs using vintage expired Kodak film, as well as using snapshots from the album, and then carefully hand-sand them with various types and grades of sandpaper. Using sandpaper means I can blur detail, smooth areas, roughen up patches, and remove people or landscapes altogether…in other words, grind and polish my past, present, future. I make the importance of the snapshot as a memory-based object more beguiling. New stories emerge through interaction, transforming presence into symbolic absence.
The new images, printed as unique prints, challenge how past events are re-presented to us through imagery and how these can influence what we think and believe.