By Remy Dean
The Story Behind a Photograph
By Remy Dean
Remy Dean, Crossings: Newport Transporter Bridge, 2012
An album of family photographs I had taken in the 1980s was forgotten about and left in the bottom of a box in a damp cellar. Over time, the action of the elements ate into the surface of some of the photographs and ‘destroyed’ the image. Among these pictures was the last portrait I had taken of my grandfather, and also a photograph I had won my first competition with.
The photograph has become synonymous with memory. This connection is overtly used throughout media, particularly in advertising. Both the photograph and the memory are parts of a process, and these processes are always ongoing. They both involve the act of seeing: utilising photochemical reactions (on film, photo-sensor, or retina) and an attempt to ‘remember’ using chemicals (print, screen or cortex).
I liked how the ‘destroyed’ pictures had not remained passive, they had become organic and recorded the effects of their environment. The patterns were quite beautiful. Likewise, our memories are not passive, they are affected by time, age, emotion and environments. So I experimented with ‘destroying’ other pictures using similar organic, analogue processes, repeatedly re-photographing during the process. These traditional prints became ‘chemographs’, which, in many ways, is what our memories are.
I am fascinated by these two time scales – the instant of the photograph and the eternal that surrounds us, of which our lives are portions. I also have an interest in the cross-over between visual arts and other forms of creativity. The moment of an experience, the lasting effects of memory. Memory and identity have been a recurring theme in my photography and in both my fiction and non-fiction writing.
Remy Dean is an author, artist and creative arts lecturer.
For more, visit: http://remydean.blogspot.co.uk/