Amanda Langston BFA Thesis Fall 2010
Investigating Memory Through Reconstructions of Traumatic Events
With this series, I am photographing reenactments of my past, specifically the aftermath of negative events. Photographing the aftermath of these memories allows e to create a more anxious psychological space for the viewer than photographing the actual event. For me, the aftermath is a deflating or a coming down from the event that just took place, it’s a calm after the storm. The aftermath is also a more vivid memory for me than the event itself. My memory of the event can be patchy or jumbled, however my memory of the aftermath is fluid. I can remember almost every detail even down to what was said, which is how I decide my titles for some pieces.
Another element of the constructed photograph is the residual chaos that has even leftover in the aftermath: sweat on a character’s body, a small mess, and miniscule drops of blood. These are hints that what is depicted is not entirely the full story and this aids in creating the tension in the photograph. Lighting is also very important for my images; I use strobe lighting as natural or ambient light. It is crucial that the lighting create the mood for the photograph just as much as the set and characters. Essentially, I want to create a beautiful image so that when there is something out of place, like a small mess or a character’s physical appearance, it will be that much more noticeable to the viewer.