Past Presence

Past Presence began as a series of research sessions into memory. The starting point for this work was the idea of 'unreliable memory'. The way in which the mind recreates places and experiences in the moment of recollection. This begs the question, can the memories we hold be objectively true?

What does it mean to our sense of self when memories are augmented, progressively over time, with fragments of imagined places, adjacent memories and stories, both internally authored and received?

How can we understand the past when so much of it is uncertain, unreliable, illusory—recreated anew each time we recall it? These questions, framed as a collision between subjective memory and objective reality are the themes this work seeks to explore.

To make these images I returned to places that bear significance in my own memory, but that I hadn't visited since childhood.

I photographed digital panoramas and transposed these onto medium format celluloid as black and white negatives. I then recreated the landscapes using scraps of carefully chosen material treated with silver nitrite, which I exposed individually to the analogue film in the darkroom. I then collaged the scraps back together, to physically rebuild the places I remember.

Once complete, I photographed each recreation digitally and returned them back into the original scenes as digital composites.