Within the broader theme of memory, I wanted to focus specifically on visual memories. How and why are images reconstructed mentally, can I somehow show an interplay between an image that represents objective reality and an image that represents constructed memory (subjective interpretation).
Within the subset of memories that are visual (rather than of events, speech, music, scent etc) I wanted to look at either rooms, people, places or objects. I settled on places for this series. Specifically outdoor spaces I remember from childhood and haven't revisited since then.
I wanted to experience first hand how the memory and the real place conflict with each other and try to record it.
I chose a set of four locations reasonably near to each other mindful that I needed the landscapes to have different characteristics to each other.
To me, these places are characters in themselves and although they also reference significant events in my memory, I wanted to open the interpretation to a potential viewer of the piece and avoid making them too specific to my own experience. This is because my theme is about something that is universal to everyone—memory, and is not intended as an introspective.
Because of this I decided not to try to include objects or markers or otherwise attempt to recreate things that are significant only to me, but to invite a wider interpretation of the final images by a potential viewer.
I put some thought into how to proceed with my shoot in terms on the sequence of locations. The ideal scenario would to have been to have a day to scout the locations and then to return to shoot each of the four locations at the ideal time of day and weather condition for desired lighting. Perhaps on four separate days.
The reality revolved around the need to shoot on the same day for logistical reasons and without scouting in advance. Considering I had purposely chosen locations I had not revisited in several decades I was aware this could prove to be a realtime demonstration of unreliable memory. I was sure, however that I was familiar enough with the area to be flexible on locations if the need were to arise.
I used an App called TPE 3D to work out sun angles and timing. It proved to be a valuable tool and worth the £10.99 cost.
Arriving before first light on an unscouted location I hadn't seen in decades wasn't without its challenges, but suffice to say I shot four locations within the allocated time.
I was able to use my phone to make quick panoramic test shots before setting up the camera and tripod. This helped me to compose the scene in my head even though I couldn't see the five image panorama in one go through the viewfinder.
All the planning and forethought paid off—I didn't follow everything exactly but the advance work I'd done helped a great deal in better decision making in the field.
The shoot revealed many constraints and considerations that affected my future choices with respect to materials. I soon discovered that bringing physical photo sculptures back to the locations produced too many technical hurdles to be practical within the scope of this project.
For example, there would be a great deal of design, construction and assistance needed to successfully shoot them in the scenery while suspended exactly and consistently in space.
Revisiting locations with the corresponding 3D objects is still an idea I'd like to explore, but on this occasion I returned to London having decided that the best course of action would be to construct the physical photo sculptures as planned, but return them to the scenes by photographing them digitally and compositing them digitally into the original shots.
I felt that I could achieve the desired images this way without compromising the integrity of the theme, or eroding the meaning of the images.
Sign up and receive new blog updates, news, giveaways and exhibition invitations.