Tag Archives: time

Note on work for the TVG exhibition – 2

After a few days away from this, I took another look at what I have put together so far for this, and the bits that intrigue me are the intermediate areas between the old photos and the new, where one is fading out and the other gradually becoming clear. There is something in this space that I want to explore further, to do with change, the reality of history and memories. More to come on this in future posts.

Secondly, I have been looking at the idea of how we store our memories, and in particular our photographs (which recall the memories). I have seen other students putting work relating to memories in boxes, but I would like to think about them as packaged ideas, that one can take out to look at. To this end, I have been experimenting with enclosing an image or images within a clear box, that one can pick up and consider from a variety of angles and directions. The clear barrier between the viewer and the memory appeals to me in the same way as the glass on a picture or photograph frame does, but the three-dimensional aspect adds something – the ability to look at a memory from different points of view and perspectives, which echoes how some events and what happened at them keep reappearing in our minds.

There is also something to consider here about how certain memories, which we take out to look at over and over again, may be holding us back from making necessary changes to our lives. An example might be a relationship break-up, where certain behaviours by the ex-partner are regularly re-examined. We can only move on if we decide to forget these issues. I have put together a little sequence below to illustrate this idea. I am still working on how to suspend the photographs within the cube invisibly, so for now I am using red thread, and on reflection, the Red Thread analogy works quite well, so I might keep it. (The images inside the box were something I had lying around, so are not significant. For a proper version, I will need to think about representations of specific memories.

I am also wondering whether a series of stcked boxes with different images and different stages of forgetting might work. I haven’t got enough boxes at present though, only three. Also, should the red thread extend outside the box on one side to simulate the connection with the photographer?


Work for the Thames Valley Group project

I’m currently working on the scattergun principle – too many projects heading off in different directions. So, to make some space in my head, I am putting this here, and would welcome any comments. As background, the Thames Valley Group is putting together an exhibition to encourage students to start thinking about making a Body of Work. The theme of the exhibition will be Time. I have lots of ideas for this, but what is interesting me at present is the idea of representing the concept of Now.

I am lucky enough to have access to a range of old photographs of my house and the area around it, as some of the previous occupants were newsworthy in their time. Whether or not I will refer directly to their story remains to be seen, but I have started out by merging two images of the same spot  from the 1920s and the present in various ways to see how they look. See below.

For the purposes of this work, number 3 seems to work best, although I like the contextualisation of number 2 as well.

I also used Photoshop to merge a couple of images of the house’s interior in Photoshop. These are simply test shots, so please ignore the plastic bag and knitting in the second one. The older images in this case were from some estate agent’s details for the house in the early 1960s.

Purely by chance I then happened to come across a series in Lensculture by the Albarrán Cabrera team, whom I follow on Instagram @albarrancabrera . The Series, Kairos looks at how we might visualise the concept of “Now” in a not dissimilar way to the work I did back in C&N assignment 5, but uses gold leaf to separate two images of the same subject, taken at different times. They say that “the images are a metaphor for the fact that the past and the future are not real, just a human invention“. A concept that is right up my street!

As a result I am now revisiting the idea of sewing that I looked at in C&N. I have tried adding a gold thread to one of the images above, but it is not clear enough, so I need to explore other ways of showing “the gap which Now occupies”.


Hardman’s chronotypes

Edward Chambré Hardman was a commercial studio photographer, who handily collected and indexed his work over a period of 40 years, and it has now been made available in digital form as an archival resource. As sitters often came back more than once for a photograph of themselves, this has allowed archival researchers to co-locate images of the same person, sitting in roughly the same position over a period of time, known as chronotypology. In his Lecture on Portraiture, he announced

To make fine portraits by photography, one must never lose sight of the ultimate aim, which is to produce a characteristic likeness or expression of the sitter’s personality.(From OCA coursebook, p31)

Given that each of his subjects sits against a plain background, without accessories, the only information the viewer is given in the face, clothing and demeanour, but using only these, Hardman was able to produce work which did give a clear sense of personality. Compare these with the annual school photos we are all used to seeing, and one can see that Hardman was is a different class (pun intended).


Ulrich Baer’s classification of archival studies indicates that there are three main ways of using it,

  1. fabricated or constructed work
  2. the archive of the unremembered
  3. the archive’s redemption as new life

Hardman’s work seems to fall roughly into the second category. We see the effects that time have wrought on his sitters, many of whom were soldiers who in the gap between sittings had experienced the realities of war. A modern interpretation of the same idea is Lalage Snow’s series We are Not The Dead, which takes a set of three photographs of soldiers, before, during and after their deployment to Afghanistan. (Oddly in these, most of the soldiers look most at peace during their deployment, rather than before or after).

Lalage Snow wearenot dead

Screenshot from:


I have the facility to produce a chronotype from my own family archive, so here are three images of my paternal grandmother in 1926, 1956 and 1993. The quality is not great, but one gets the idea.

Of course, I only recall her as she was in the last image.


Baer, Ulrich (2008). ‘Deep in the Archive’ In: Aperture 193, Winter 2008, p. 54-58 [Online]. Available at: http://issues.aperture.org/20080404#!/54 (Accessed 7 August, 2016)