Photography, artist book
I used to perceive family photos as something irrefutable and total. The pictures glued to albums and sorted into envelopes with dozens of photographic scenes from life of several family generations seemed to form a solid and explicit narrative. For four years I was building the timeline and collecting stories from close people based on the shots. Driving attention to old photographs I repeatedly forced my family to recall the details and to restore the plots of events. However, the more I was immersing myself into the process, the less certain I was about the narrative which used to be once so real. I felt as if I was peering into a deep well trying to distinguish the reflection on the bottom, but the water surface was constantly disturbed by falling stones.
While memory is still alive and remains flexible, as long as it has not turned into stone, there will be no chance to interrupt the flow of reminiscences and to seize the images preserved in the moment. Faces of old times, either of the past youth or forgotten lives, they never freeze. Drifting apart from the present these shapes of bygone and the outlines of family generations, which were multiple times developed through recollections, continue to transform. Some of their traits are being erased others are coming out. Referring to personal and collective memories we involuntary continue writing family history and modifying the portraits of our relatives. Previous concepts of them split and replicate, condemning us to another cycle of recall.
Even the experience of memory comprehension acquired with years does not allow to achieve the state of absolute clarity of family and personal remembrance. On the other hand, this skill helps to avoid the impenetrable darkness of oblivion. To a lesser extent can family photos contribute to the restoration of mental images of the past in their entirety. We are stuck forever somewhere in between when trying to rebuild the course of events.
Or, on the contrary, we are at the very beginning of the path.
The Russian photographer Bogomolova, is particularly interested in the theme of memory. Contemporary budding photographers have often developed this theme, but she manages to find an original, intense dimension for it. She seems to communicate to everybody, despite the connection with her personal family pictures. The rectangular-shaped picture is re-photographed and manipulated, using other materials. Old pictures are buried, covered in dust, trapped in glass sheets. Little home-made portraits show her family members who in turn show pictures of their old selves, lost in time but saved by the only thing that could have saved them. Photography. In Bogomolova’s art, a sort of flirt with dated pictures, often linked to her personal story, can be noticed. It is as if the author enjoys perceiving herself in time, being part of a personal and collective story at the same time. It may be the need to have a concrete object to think over, as the contemporary ways of expressing memory through images seem to develop endlessly.
Gioia Perrone (IT), 20142013