“ A photograph is only a fragment , and with the passage of time its moorings come unstuck. It drifts away into a soft abstract pastness open to any kind of reading (or matching to any other photographs) . ( Sontag , S. 1979 , p.g 71)
This is a continuation of my research into time , ageing and loss , a concept used for the 2nd assignment. I decided once again to use a plain black backdrop and the contents from my case of old family photographs , not only to maintain visual constituency but in the hope these images will eventually form a larger body of work incorporating both my second and final assignment images.
The title of my project came to me whilst rooting through my case of photographs I came across a picture of a young and happy couple , friends of my parent’s , and on the front of the photo someone (who?) had written ‘happy days’ . The title is also a pun , I felt sad as I continued to look through the case because “most subjects are , just by virtue of being photographed , touched with pathos. …a beautiful subject can be the object of rueful feelings , because it has aged or decayed or no longer exists . All photographs are memento mori . To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s ( or thing’s ) mortality , vulnerability , mutability . Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it , all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt” (Sontag ,S. 1979 ,p.g 15).
Born on the 4th November 1925 my mum will be 90 later this year , she is no longer the independent and agile child or beautiful young woman she once was , and “through photographs we follow in the most intimate , troubling way the reality of how people age ” ( Sontag , S . 1979, p.g 70) . My narrative reconstructs remembered events and moments during her lifetime , mum’s memories personified to become my own. However memory is unreliable , why do some memories remain and are so signifiant they last a lifetime , yet others fade ? How can fleeting and sometimes inconsequential moments define a person or a life?
I searched through my case of family photographs seeking physical proof of past events yet the pictures I finally chose are merely “fragments of stories , never stories in themselves ” (Hirsch,M . 2012 p.g 83) . A printed photograph ” as opposed to film or video ……. reduces time to frozen moments that linger in our memory . We can choose the image that best fits our memories or fantasises at any given moment ” (Novak, L. 2013 p.g 197). Hence my narrative can only be a finite and subjective retrospective of my mothers life .”What I see when I look at my family pictures is not what you see when you look at them:only my look is affiliative , only my look enters and extends the network of looks and gazes that have constructed the image in the first place” ( Hirsch , M. 2012 , p.g 93)
A (very basic in style) PDF book dummy here as required for the assignment Happy Days in printed book form it will be landscape . I intend to order a book but after speaking to my son-in-law may alter the font/text type beforehand + await tutor feedback.
The Red Beret
Aged 17 mum wanted to be a motorbike dispatch rider in the army. She cried all weekend before her parents would allow her to join. She never did learn to ride a motorbike but was taught to drive lorries instead. Despite the war she says these were amongst the happiest days of her life.
Mum in a Swimsuit
Self-portrait with Mum
Last of the Lowerys