Today’s photos are tomorrow’s nostalgia

As mentioned in recent posts, I was much struck by Eric Kim’s thoughts on Araki’s philosophy of photographing his everyday life, and this remains the case. The concept of memento mori has further been in my thoughts  because of two events which have happened recently. The first was listening to the Radio 4 programme on Leonard Cohen and his muse, Marianne. It was a wonderfully evocative piece, full of emotion, poetry and singing and was a joy to hear. Cohen and Marianne talked separately about the time they spent together and how various of Cohen’s songs recalled specific moments. These songs, which were made with great emotion at the time, now have a nostalgic resonance both for the two protagonists, but also for those of us who marked various points in our own lives while listening to them. Sadly, since the programme was recorded, Marianne has died, so all that is left is memories now.

The second was that my father last week gave me my mother’s camera, saying he would never use it again. (My mother died in 2011). To be fair, he wasn’t much of a photographer anyway, and Mum used to take all the family photos. Laterally, this was done using an Olympus Speedrite 110, which I assume she bought around 1992, when they first went on the market.


Alongside the camera, he gave me her accessories: a fine Velbon metal tripod (which I never saw her use), a remote control system (ditto), some macro lenses and various unused and exposed films, including at least one which has been used but has not been processed. I will be sending this one in for processing along with my own photographs taken on the camera, and am keen to see what is on it.

Together, these various small events have made me realise that my own photography must be about the people and ideas I will want to recall in the future. Holidays and parties are all very well, but the images that are likely to bring back significant memories are the everyday moments of interaction among family members and friends. The bits in between the set piece events, as it were. I wish to explore that avenue in detail while working through this module. And now I come to think of it, the reasoning behind my decision on what to photograph for Assignment 1 falls into this category, but I will explain that more in the assignment itself.


6 thoughts on “Today’s photos are tomorrow’s nostalgia

  1. emmapocock

    I’m in the middle of reading Family Frames by Marianne Hirsch – if you haven’t already read it I think you would find it interesting, it focuses on these issues about why we photograph particular moments and how this shapes our individual and collective memory.


    1. Holly Woodward Post author

      I’ve got Hirsch’s book, but find it slow going, Emma. She’s not the easiest of writes to follow, is she? Thanks for the tip, and I will have another go at Family Frames.


  2. Catherine

    I like the idea of everyday moments yet giving them a special quality.
    i’ll be very interested to see the interaction between your mother’s photographs and your own – speaking to each other across the years as it were.

    Liked by 1 person


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