Photography has a curious relationship with the habit of collecting. To photograph something is to own it; “it turns people into objects” as famously stated by Susan Sontag in her seminal text On Photography. However, memories and experiences too become objects when placed before the lens, to be collected and kept. Photographs themselves are collectable objects - whether digital or physical - and often stand as mementos of people, places and things.
From young childhood, I have held onto items that had meaning for me but little or no monetary value. This habit took a more obsessive turn when adulthood approached, and I began to experience loss and trauma. Objects and photographs have often acted as melancholic memory aids for me when the people or circumstances associated with them are no longer accessible. The relationship between object and emotion, which is so specific to an individual, and where meaning is lost when memory is absent, is reminiscent of the way in which photographs work upon us. Nostalgic objects and photographs thus become a fascinating way of representing the slippery nature of meaning itself.
As such, my habit of saving valueless items has intersected with my artistic practice. I collect objects that are visually compelling; have special significance to me; are representative of a particular experience in my life; or are a combination of these three. In using the scanner as my photographic tool, the objects I present become two-dimensional, yet appear hyper-realistic, echoing the falsehoods inherent in memory itself. The objects used in these works may have deep personal significance for me. They may also be ‘found objects’ that are not personally significant, or they may fall somewhere in between. Meaning, then, emerges for my viewers in the way they personally understand and relate to the objects, images, and text to be found within these works.