Wakey Wakey!

March 28, 2011

I missed you, Write Right Now! Last week I gave a presentation in one of my classes about Photography, Memory and Grief, and I ended it with an exercise.I gave a slide presentation of my father’s photographs and I figured I should share it here. As many of you know, my father is a professional photographer/photojournalist and he took pictures of my family almost every day of our lives. I used to resent him for this, in a way, thinking that he was exploiting us, using our private lives for his art. A lot of his pictures simply come off as sweet family photos that aren’t much different than the one’s you’d find in a normal family album, but others are clearly making statements outside of documenting family. Take this photograph of me  as a newborn, for example:

Then, when my mother  became ill, he, naturally, did not put down the camera.

When my mother passed away, and I began to write about her, I worried that my memories of her and of my own life, were only memories of photographs, memories that were only copies of memories. Later, I realized that all memories are copies, somehow. There is really no “pure” memory. As soon as we turn reality into a narrative, it’s already a copy, just like a photograph. I began to feel grateful for these images. All memories are acts of creation, of reassembling something. Photographs of my mother ruined the “pure” or “real” memory no more than a dress she used to wear or a song that reminded me of her.

Try to think about a memory that you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about or something you’ve written about before. Write about an object that reminds you of it. Think about how the object is a loyal representative of the thing or person or event you were remembering. How is it a symbol for your real, pure memory or how does it betray your memory? Try to write about it in a way you’ve never thought of it, as if it were unfamiliar or from someone elses perspective.

If you’d like to see more of my father’s photographs: http://www.davidhealeyphotography.com/

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One Response to “Wakey Wakey!”

  1. Kristie said

    I am grateful for your Dad’s photos too and I really miss your mom.
    I would love to talk when you have time and too read more of your writings. Tell Danielle I said Hi and give little Marky a big hug for me.

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