Transformative Storytelling

Using only found images (ie images from family albums and local library archives, not published in magazines) research and construct a photo-artefact/story that weaves a narrative linking the people depicted within.

Development : Build and include a soundscape relevant to your story. Include personal stories from the subjects depicted.

As I have been developing my second edition of Unwelcome Invitation and adding family archives into the mix I have already been looking into my own personal ‘collection’. I have been discussing the stories behind photography and how albums show the holiday snaps, but ignore the time between. Sarah Davidmann touches on this idea that ‘we only take photographs for albums of happy events, not what we see as difficult family matters’. Therefore, family albums are somewhat superficial and mask the reality. Often albums are marked by dates and who is in them, but not so commonly linked with text.

My mum came to visit and brought albums to look through. She found a picture of her on holiday when she was two. She doesn’t remember the holiday but in the picture she is holding her favourite toy, Towser. This photograph alone makes her think about her childhood memories are influenced by one toy. We only found two photographs. But that is all it can take to begin a reflection on a story or a memory. This could be considered as a ‘homage to a precious object’: how one photograph can allow a story to be told about a very special possession that perhaps would not usually be in regular conversation or storytelling. Having a visual aid is important.

This exercise has made me think more about ‘archived’ family albums and how whether in generations to come, if they are appropriated with sound and memories, would they be more relevant and relatable? It is the point of how can we make an archive come to life : how we must consider the audience and their engagement to creatively and effectively tell a story. If I did this again, I would have mum in a home environment and have a more casual recording- so would have her on a clip-on mic over a longer period of time; capture ambient sounds of the room: the clock, turning pages etc – this would add atmosphere for the viewer. Then having closeup shots of the albums, my mum and the room/place she keeps the archive. These ideas I have learnt from Matt Ford when talking to Alex Mason about his work; Aaron Guy’s Work, Void; Aaron Guy interview by Matt Johnston and finally from working with Jinx Rodger’s archive of George Rodger.

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