First thoughts for assignment 2

1991.8 Disney Florida-04v2

Disneyworld Florida, 1991

I am fortunate enough to have quite a large collection of family albums, going back to the early 1900s, so there is quite a bit of scope for this assignment. While doing the reading for the part of the course, I have been trying to learn the basics of paper sculpture, through this excellent Youtube series by Duncan Birmingham. Spatial awareness is not one of my fortés (I always do appallingly in those sections of psychometric tests), and so there is a lot of trial and error (lots of error) involved.

So my plan is to produce a series of pop-ups, possibly in a carousel format, to consider the family events which are the staple of family albums – births, holidays, Christmas, weddings etc. and using a mixture of album images from across the last 120 years.
I have another idea floating around too, but it hasn’t yet crystallised into something I can work with – all those events which are not recorded in the family album, but which certain images remind us of. Just to give an example, one of my albums has a series of happy holiday images from a visit to DisneyWorld in Florida (see image above). What is apparent nowhere in this series is the miscarriage I had while there, my subsequent visit to parts of the adventure park that nobody usually sees and my stay in the emergency room at Orlando Hospital. Every time I look at those images, I remember the miscarriage, but it is entirely absent from the visual record. I would like to delve into this at some point during the module, and look at why we don’t record the bad and sad family events that are often the real defining moments of our lives.

11 thoughts on “First thoughts for assignment 2

  1. anomiepete

    “..produce a series of pop-ups, possibly in a carousel format…” great idea. I’m not sure of the brief but would you want to signal the omissions and gaps in the family albums eg deaths, funerals, and the unhappy aspects of llive we tend not to photograph? Good luck

    Like

    Reply
    1. Holly Woodward Post author

      Hi, Pete. I’m not sure whether you mean I should or should not signal the gaps? It could probably be done as I’ve shown in the post, i.e. by words alongside old images, but perhaps these things should be left alone?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. anomiepete

        I was thinking more of signalising this miscarriage and other things visually rather than with words Holly – but it should be signalled somehow shouldn’t it? You say “Every time I look at those images, I remember the miscarriage” and so the images connote for you something wholly different than to others and it would be good to signal this.

        Like

  2. Catherine

    I’m sorry that what should have been a happy time for you was cut short by your miscarriage and you’re right about the way that sad events are usually missing from family photographs – the blank in the records.

    Like

    Reply
  3. Kate

    I was so sorry to read that Holly. That knowledge completely changes the reading of the photograph, with the round dome in the background. I think such images don’t fit the family album mould, the traditional commentary – people don’t know what to say, and somehow this discomfort overrides the need to acknowledge the sad, the heart-breaking, as you say the events that are the real defining points of our lives.

    I think you’re right – there is potential for relevant and resonant work to be made about the events that escape the photographic record. I think the work is still on my FiP blog about how some women remember their miscarriages and early losses.

    Completely with you on the spatial awareness. I was always in the significantly below average section for those tests. I’m still relieved that I no longer have to figure out how to fit baby car-seats or collapse pushchairs.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Holly Woodward Post author

      Quite, but there are still plenty of pieces of domestic equipment that completely defy me – the clothes airer is one of my especial nightmares.

      Re the album and misfortunes, perhaps there is a way of telling the hidden stories without being too direct about it. All families have events that are known about but not spoken of or directly commemorated in photographs, but which are there, under the surface.

      Like

      Reply
  4. Nicola Hallam

    I’m sorry to read about your miscarriage. I immediately thought ‘A picture can’t tell a thousand words’ when I read your post. I think it’s a really interesting idea to pursue. We are conditioned to ‘look on the brightside’ yet I have read often that we are programmed to think more negatively.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s