the Memory Project
Julia
Julia
Karim
Karim
Ryuji
Ryuji
Fred
Fred
Bebop
Bebop
Julia

Today we are advancing towards the digital age- it is only natural that photography should follow suite. Only more natural because, as theorist Fredric Jameson once remarked, "we are living in a world of illusion"; and how better to create an illusion than through photography.

Indeed, because photography is still whilst life is in motion, and because photography affects only one of our senses whilst life affects five, photography cannot pretend to do more than hint at reality. Because of the evolution of technology, the changes in the world economy, and the consequent evolution of our society and culture, we are encouraged to live more and more in an illusory environment. Photography plays are great part in the creation of such illusions: unreal by nature, alluding to a reality which is de facto different from the representation it makes of it, photography is a medium which by its very nature fosters illusion.

At the same time though, photography in everyday life is often used by individuals as a gateway to memory. Photo-souvenirs are taken and then revisited to bring back memories of moments, people, back from the past. We have seen though that by nature, photography promotes a vision that is some distance away from reality: however, when a photo is used to bring back a memory of a real moment, what is supposed to bring back that memory soon comes to replace it in the mind of the viewer. The image replaces the moment in the mind of the viewer, and what was at first the memory of a real moment soon becomes that of an illusion. It can thus be said that when aided by photography, memory becomes distorted and distances itself from reality. This is similar to the actions of photography itself: it presents the image of a moment, but by its very nature distances itself of the moment it seeks to represent.

Thus, it was only natural to use this dual relationship in between photography and memory in order to approach the subject of memory though photography. In a sense, photography affects memory, which in turn is to be examined through the eye of photography: there is almost a double distortion in this way of seeing things. The concept behind this project was to create an image which conveyed the artificiality of memory as aided by photography; and to convey this artificiality, what more natural than the use of digital imaging, which doubles the distortion wrought by photography by creating images that are impossible in reality.

To approach this subject, I looked at the works of several photographers having used digital imagery to convey surreality: Stephane Sednaoui, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot, Norbert Shoerner, Phil Poynter, Vincent Peters, Solve Sundsbo. At the same time, I wanted to use a more traditional and direct portraiture composition to give off the idea of reality: because of its association with photojournalism, grittyness, black and white was an obvious medium through which to do this. As the idea was to contrast memory/illusion with reality, a strong differentiation needed to be made between the two: hence the use of colour for the memory aspect of the project. This artificiality was to be enhanced by the use of exaggerated colour saturation, and by the use of computer-generated imagery.

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