Meditations on Memory

Between 2003 and 2007, I used a pinhole camera obscura to investigate how photographs evoke memories. It was a way to make photographs that depict contextual environments and embody an imperfect and ethereal quality, reminiscent of a flashback. Its handmade structure was devoid of mechanisms, and lacking in charm…a black box filled with absolute darkness…a repository for lost time, where the present can mirror the past. There was no shutter. Light seeped through a tiny aperture to one sheet of film. I counted for an exposure, covered the hole, and crossed my fingers.

This organic process freed me from the technical immediacy of digital production and persuaded me to slow down and reclaim my past. The absence of lens and viewfinder prolonged the realization of the images until the development and printing stages were completed in my darkroom. The fibre-based contact prints are miniature in scale, measuring 4x5”, and meant to be viewed at close range. An intimacy forms between viewer and image. The photographs are reflections of self-exploration. They are meditations on memory.

When viewers engage with a photograph, they may see something that is not there. It has the power to resurrect a mental image in the viewer’s mind and take on a new existence. Life occurrences, desires and imaginings transform a memory into a new experience, and may leave someone asking, “Is this photograph a memory of reality or fantasy?”