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Everyday and the epic


I choose to do everyday staged photography not for an aesthetic purpose, but with the purpose of trying to help someone. Explaining what I am doing, how I got to this point and WHY am I doing it. Roland Barthes in his Camera Lucida: ‘the Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially’. I am interested in reaching the studium and the punctum in my project. The studium refers to the range of meanings available and obvious to everyone; The punctum escapes language, attracts and holds the viewer’s (the Spectator’s) gaze; it pricks or wounds the observer. Image making is indivisibly a part of remembering. Pictures recall emotions, awaken memories. Our memory is a storeroom, but how come we remember certain things and not others? We don’t have the memories of the taking the first step, the first time we talked, we remember random stuff. Our views about certain events and complex, simple moments have been recorded. As photographers, we usually stay behind the camera and capture of course what we find interesting or beautiful in a certain moment, we also plan what we are photographing, and as artists we don’t just express, we are expressing ourselves throughout our work. The need of people to reproduce reality in one way or another is inseparably linked to the instinct to bring an aspect of themselves into the picture. But if we looked at our lives, and try to remember important moments it occurs to us the fact that those moments haven’t been photographed, because that would have implied someone being there with a camera. And that didn’t happen. My project is about reconstructing memories. There are two ways in which I can choose to do this project. First method: play a game. Ask people with different age, jobs, if they were to forget everything by tomorrow and keep just one memory, what would they choose. I will leave them an amount of time, a day, to decide and then they have to describe this memory in order for me to reconstruct it. But it wouldn’t be so honest because we know that the game is just a game and tomorrow they will still remember everything. So I have a problem, because I want something real, I want this situation to be real, I then decided to do it with people who are really going to forget who they are and all those memories that I’m talking about. This is the moment when I decided to do my project with people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in an incipient phase, because then their choices of their memories will be honest and real. I have this idea of mine that if what you are doing as a photographer, artist won’t help anyone, then it’s useless. This is my first step towards this idea and I would like to collaborate with certain communities, minorities, in order to help them. How am I supposed to help these people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease? I am obviously not a doctor., but while I was doing my research I found out about people who used photography as a method of remembering their lives. If I choose a few people and reconstruct their moments, this might help them remember them after a time. It might not. I don’t know, all I know is that I am going to give it a try. I am very very curious about what those people will choose. And at this point photography is an expression of my guilt, of my inability to change a situation, it’s an expression of something in front of me that doesn’t look too good and if I can not change it, it will remain a sort of protest towards this disease and also a way of finding out what people consider to be their most important memories. What would they choose and why. I have been inspired by a movie called After Life, 1998, Wandafuru Raifu. People who died, before going to heaven or hell, spent one week with a film crew . They had this opportunity of keeping one memory to take with them further and one week to decide. After deciding, the film crew reproduced their moment and gave them a videotape to carry further. Some scenes from the movie:


Bibliography: Wright Morris, Time Pieces: Photographs, Writing and Memory Emile Meijer and Joop Swart: The photographic memory Damian Sutton: Photography, Cinema, Memory John X Berger and Olivier Richon: Writing Photography John Berger: Another Way of Telling

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