Contextual Research

Imaging Time: Understanding photography as time based media.

A great set of talks and a Q&A at The Photographers Gallery today as part of The Strangerlove Festival. Talking about their work were three very different but equally as interesting artists all who’s practise deals with ideas of time. I thought I would share some thoughts and ideas from the event.

Catherine Yass

Past and present in moving image - This idea of capturing the past and the present through moving image really interested me. As you are recording the present it immediately becomes the past, so is there really a way of recording the absolute present moment, unless through a live feed. This idea of live photography is something I would like to explore in the future.

Manipulating individual frames - I have an idea look at the individual frames of my grandparents wedding video to see where that investigation could take me. As I have been given all the individual frames as images this could be an interesting project in itself.

Light boxes - installation - I have always been intrigued by the use of the light box and so have contact a friend of mine who works with light boxes on a large scale in his work - Dominic Hawgood. As I use old slides quite frequently in my practise I think light boxes could be an interesting way to display my findings.

Pheobe Boswell

Screenshot - I believe the word is still beautiful, Pheobe Boswell -

Screenshot - I believe the word is still beautiful, Pheobe Boswell -

Making new histories from archive was something that really resonates with me, and I think in some ways describes what I have made through my Ipseity investigation. Taking archival material and constructing in a new narrative ( which could be anything from putting two images next to each there to view or by merging images) is making a new history. This is then also based on the ideas by Yass above where we are only briefly in the present and actually al the work we make becomes a new history.  

Filming family looking through archive - I really love this work. It resonated with my ideas of family and how I am recording my conversations with my grandmother. Films overlayed with other images is also something I would love toexperiement with moving forward with Ipseity.  

Immediacy of taking the image - Is this the idea of the snapshot. Possibly the way I try to take images using the point and shoot aesthetic?

  • same immediacy reconstructed when image is re scanned into archive?

Intercepting truth and fiction to create new narrative. I think the idea surrounding the truth in photography is for another time, however my project description of “An investigation into memory, Imagination and the family album” resonates here. Memory and the family album link whole heartedly but I think the area of imagination is something I can really experiment with for the FMP. Using some kid of distortion perhaps.  

Live exhibition where she drew self portraits in the exhibition space. - This idea of the live exhibition is fascinating as it also delves tot he idea that it is in present but is also creating a new archive simultaneously.

Erika Scourfi

Self scrutiny, Modes of recognition, Performative autobiography and The photography network along with The dark archive were the topics of Erika Scourfi’s practice. I have to be honest that her work did not resonate with me very much but one point did spark a new consideration into “Things not shared with many other people” (Scourfi, 2019).It made me think about my grandmother’s archive and towards the reasons for my specific interest in her past and indirectly my present and future. Making the private moments public began to be one of the ways in which I was seeing my own work. The idea that these personal archives in the present day sit on clouds and are sometimes never looked at again. Other more sentimental albums form my grandmother’s childhood are stored under the bed or in the attic and rarely glanced at. This investigation is about the act of looking, the way of seeing my grandmothers images and creating a new present day narrative from it.   

New Memory - Facebook tells you when you have a new memory. This was another strand to Scourfi’s work where she talked about how we are now told when to remember and where the memory is filed. This is a rather different practise to mine where the memories are triggered through mutual conversation and recollection. What would happen if these memories of my grandmother's were instructed to us when to revisit them? Perhaps a new strand to my work in the future. It could some how like to the live view ideas above.

Themes of this investigation


A key theme in my investigation is the actual act of conversation with my grandmother as a means to conserving memories (develop) In creating the final visual outcome for this project I was influenced by the ancient Chinese ‘arts of memory’ techniques where objects of memory are laced along a familiar path. This approach was adopted in my work through placing family photographs in a visual timeline to new displayed both on the wall and in a printed publication. (Develop) 

The Family Archive

“The record looks to a future time when things will be different” Annette Kuhn

Here Anette Kuhn talkes about the family photograph album and how it is represented in the present. Like Kuhn, I look at how the images are presented, but through other areas of my research and reflection, I make my own mark on them and try to in some ways change the direction of the narrative.

Memory -

I remember Annette Kuhn talking about the family photograph which perfectly describes, although with my work it was her possession, my reasoning for starting to this investigation:  “…On the surface, the family photograph functions primarily as a record..”

“The record looks towards a future time when things will be different, anticipating a need to remember what will soon be past.” (Kuhn 1995, 2002)At this point I was photographing to remember both her possessions ( memeories) as well as the moment. 

Postmemory -

Marianne Hirsch - Inheriting other peoples memories. In my work this inheritance is through memories of pilgrimage to Israel that I have never been on nor was alive to have experienced. Through images and stories that I have been told these ‘post memories’ are recalled/created.

Time & Duration -

Damien Sutton - Duration of time is an important element of my current practise. Memories from the past are dragged tot he present along a kind of timeline in which the duration of these memories is extended. The single image snapshot of time is extended. Does this mean that it is a moving image?


Continuing on from a previous post about Marianne Hirsch and Postmemory I wanted to highlight some further points of reflection.

Joan Gibbons writes on the subject of Memory and Photography and has introduced Marianne Hirsch’s description of Postmemory. She uses a lovely anecdote for Postmemory where she discusses it in terms of the primary and secondary witness. “Postmemory - secondary memory that has been passed constructed by the next generation rather than the primary witness” and then gos not o discuss how postmemory is “the inheritance of past events that are still being worked through.” This idea resonates with me when thinking about my grandmothers memories and the stories that I inherit through he conversations we have. Something I am a little less familiar with and something I will investigate further is what is meant by “still being worked through”. Is this referring to the wrk through of life in general or a more succinct working through like that of an investigation?


Turner Prize 2018: Charlotte Prodger

I was very interested indeed to hear Charlotte talk about “fixed lengths of film” and how they “correspond to a fixed period of time”. The intertwined relationship between the body and technology. I’m personally not so interested in this relationship between the body and technology but I am interested in Prodger’s discussion on technology and in particular this idea of the fixed duration fo time determined by the length of film.

I have never really thought about this duration being determined by a physical length of material before and its a really thought provoking idea. Particularly the idea of the family photographs Ive ben looking at are a sequence that ave been determined by a duration fo time and the length of the film.

Prodger also talked about her fascination with 16mm film, and this has come at an ideal point in my research as I have just been looking at my grandparents super 8 wedding video wondering how I can work with these images. Lots of ideas and thoughts about it to come…..

David Campany in Conversation with Wendy McMurdo and Pauline ...?

I’m interested in the “Hybrid space between photo & video.” - David Campany

Technology has now enabled us to have a stills camera, a cinematic camera, a sound recorder, a mobile editing tool and more all incased in an Iphone. This however is not a new idea. David Campany Introduced us to The Sept camera, manufactured by Debrie, France, 1922. This was a camera capable of all these things in one device and covered all aspects of this Hybrid space mentioned earlier. This multi use device fulfils the “desire for fluid ability to switch between still and cine”(Campany) and has ignited some ideas for my final output of my FMP in terms of how to publish to multiple platforms using variations of the project for different outputs. In the coming weeks I shall be writing a project proposal and these influences and ideas gained form this conversation will be part of my initial proposal.

Immemory - Chris Marker

Thinking of our memory as a kind of 'history book', or thinking about our fragments of memory in terms of 'geography'. We map our own paths collecting memorandum along the way. These paths can the be organised through the photographs made, the postcards collected and stored in an archive. 

This idea of memory being related to geography reminds me of the Chinese Tradition 'memory Palace'. Items of memory are placed along a path known well to the person and the path is then travelled along passing past items of recollection. 

This idea of geography, of recollecting the paths once travelled and also the objects of memory are all things I wish to integrate into my practise in the future - perhaps through landscape works or through physical travel to obtain a deeper understanding of what I understand to be my own methodology in memory work. 


Marker, C. (2018). Immemory. [online] Chris Marker. Available at: [Accessed 19 Aug. 2018].