The Ritual of Living: Take 2

I don’t know if you all read but I have been having trouble with my camera. So since then I started to feel a disconnection to the idea. Over time, I have come up with a similar concept that still involves photography but just not strictly my own. My idea of each day being a ritual is still a part of my work but I am also incorporating the ritual of having and preserving memories. We write down our days and experiences in a journal in order to look back at our past and the same goes for photography. It is a way to grasp onto moments that only last in that given moment. My cousins’ Grandmother’s home burnt down to the ground this past summer and everything was destroyed. One of the first things my Aunt said was the worst thing about the fire was that all of their photos are now gone. Photos of her childhood, her Father (who had past years ago), all of them were gone. There is something about a photograph that seems very valuable to people that once gone, it cannot be replaced.

For my new idea, I will be gathering photographs from my family members and compiling them into a book. The reason I am only asking family members and not friends for photos is because I enjoy the familial aspect that it will bring to the book (It will read like a visual description of my family). The photos will range from year, colour or black and white, size, and subject matter. On the back of these photographs, I have asked my family members to write down their memory of that photo: what they were doing, what happened that day, why they wore the shirt they wore, anything that comes to mind when they look at the photo. Each photo will have a separate page and be in the centre of that page. So far, the size of book that I am interested in is 11″x14″. I have not gathered the photos yet so I don’t know what the largest photograph will be, thus, I have chosen a larger paper size. The photos will not be displayed in order of years but based on the flow of the subject matter in the photos. I feel that this will give the book more of a focus on the compilation of memories rather than a study of the technical development of photography through the years. Nevertheless, the photos will be placed in a book and not an album because I want the photos to read as a study of the ritual of living and not just a photo album that gets stored on the shelf and taken out when there are guests in the house.

Since I am not focused on taking the photos personally I haven’t done more research on specific photographers but I have researched the question on why taking photos and making albums is so important. Here’s a link to a website that I read. I know it’s not very official, I think this woman was just bored when she posted this, but it got the ball rolling for this idea.

http://mary615.hubpages.com/hub/The-Value-And-Importance-Of-Keeping-A-Family-Photograph-Album 

 I would love to hear any questions or comments you have about my new concept. This weekend I’m going home for Thanksgiving and I will be getting all the photos then. I will take pictures of some of them and post the pics on the blog so you can get an idea of what the photos will be like. Sorry for the long post I just wanted to be thorough. Have a good rest of your day! 

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4 Responses to The Ritual of Living: Take 2

  1. I think there’s a germ of a good idea here. A book filled with family pictures and written memories will be hard to sell as being a whole lot different than a photo album. The part about arranging them by subject flow is a good start. What if you take pictures or scans of the photos and have family members write on the front sides, or somehow set it up so the writing is visible at the same time as the photograph. Is it possible to make some sort of coherent narrative? What if you make up your own story?

  2. I like Stephen’s idea of creating your own story. What if you started to scan the photo’s and digitally mix them together to create a new narrative using memories from various people in your family, and mixing them all together.

  3. I agree with how photography is a valuable remembrance of people and important events in people’s lives. You mentioned how you’ll get your family members to write a description in the back of the photograph will the viewers be able to look at it?

  4. My family had asked me when they were writing down the memories if they could make some up if they didn’t know exactly what the memory was. I thought this would be inconsistent with the concept that I relate to rituals so I only used photos where there was a vivid memory attached. If I’m talking about the ritual of having and preserving memories then it would go against my idea to make up memories. And how I will be showing the writing on the back is by cutting a hole in the page slightly smaller than the photo itself so the photo will rest on top of the hole but the memory will be seen on the back of the page. This can be read as the “memory behind the photograph”, literally speaking. I wanted to have the memory written on the back so when the viewer first looks at the photo they can try and figure out what the memory could be or relate the image to a memory they may already have before reading the actual memory. I hope my reasonings clear things up. I will be posting pictures of some of the photos that I will be using soon.

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