Shortly after the death of my mother, I found myself sorting through a box of negatives that had been taken when she was a young woman, before she was my mother. While handling these fragile objects I was driven by a desire to “do something” with them. Rather than attempting to make something that would impose an imperfect interpretation, I choose to represent them as the objects they are and present them “as is.” By scanning the negatives as objects rather than as images, I intentionally betray one of the basic premises of photography, that it describes. The scanner records the film as itself and reveals only faint shadows of the images they hold. Fingerprints and scratches, on both the film and the scanner bed, hold the traces of those that have touched them over time. I choose to obfuscate what was originally depicted, blocking access to its contents and relieving them from the burden of holding a memory; a memory now impossible to recall. A certain form of erasure occurs while a new narrative emerges. I do this because I feel I cannot speak for what these images meant to my mother and yet I have a desire to represent them none the less.

They say that at the end of life, the beginning returns. The two darknesses merge and the distance between the two collapses. If sorrow and beauty are connected, it may lie within the texture of longing. This project, for me, becomes a mapping of that empty space, the presence of absence.

This project is a continuation of my investigation into the medium of photography itself, specifically, its materials and the meanings we expect photographs to possess. I seek to make visible photography’s particular conditions of representation and the instability of meaning in any representation while playing within the gap between abstract and representational depiction.

2017