Elizabeth Randall MFA LRVS Thesis 2015
Lies, Memory and the Banal: The Family Photograph
Preserved in my family history are key moments that occur in each generation through albums, slides, and digital images. They leave behind their own trace, like waves breaking on the shore. This repetition is something that Marianne Hirsch calls “Postmemory”; new memories created through stories told and passed down, and in the case of my family, the relentless documentation of our lives.
My family is filled with documentors. My grandmother kept every negative she ever took, not to mention the thousands of slides and hundreds of family photo albums. My father recorded every Christmas and birthday with a stationary Camcorder until I took over the role myself. I take literally thousands of photos of my daughter each year. This compulsive need to preserve the past through photography is part of my family’s being. The photos exist, they are present, they are kept, archived, and backed up.
In this series of images entitled “Wake”, I use my family’s historical photos digitally combined with my own photography to iterate lost moments experienced over five generations. This work is about how those slipping memories are echoed to future generations until they are so distorted there is no longer any connection to the original experience, but only a trace left from the passing of time. In photos left behind, evoked memories, retold stories, only fragments remain to restore what has passed in the wake.
Low Residency MFA in Visual Studies (LRVS)