Excavations by Odette England
Preserving family history via photography is like an archeological excavation: it involves the exposure, processing, and recording of remains. But to uncover the truth – or at least an interpretation of the 'apparent truth' of an image – a 'hunt' or 'dig' is required.
My project Excavations explores the invisible social space of family storytelling. I make chromogenic color prints (in the darkroom) of family photographs using vintage Kodak film, as well as using snapshots from the album, and then carefully hand-sand them with various types and grades of sandpaper. Using sandpaper means I can blur detail, smooth areas, roughen up patches, and remove people or landscapes altogether ... in other words, grind and polish my past, present, future. I make the importance of the snapshot as a memory-based object more beguiling. New stories emerge through interaction, transforming presence into symbolic absence.
The new images challenge how past events are re-presented to us through imagery and how these can influence what we think and believe.
Odette England lives and works in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
To view more of Odette's work, please visit her website.