Chilhood memories

12 January 2007 |


I have always had a soft spot for what other people might consider bad photographs. Call them errors, mistakes, mishaps, shakes, parapraxes, slips, forgetfulness, out-of-focus, wrongly lit, stupidity, lapsi… The thing is that, for me, they hold something of the moment that straight pictures, in all of their sanitised composion, don’t. Obviously, my point is that the unconscious speaks though them. I have rescued many of these over the years. I remember when photographs used to come in paper and my dad went through the set and chucked away those that were “bad”. More than once, after being put to bed but unable to get to sleep, I would get up and safe some of those photographs from eternal repression. “I am thirsty” ‚Äì I would say, if someone asked me what I was doing. The answer was not totally false. I was trying to understand.

0 thoughts on “Chilhood memories

  1. In going through old pictures recently, I found an interesting corollary to this. My favorites were those that –rather than being “bad” to begin with– had “gone bad.” Black and White Polaroids fading out with age; images missing bits where they had stuck to and been ripped apart from others; crumpled photos criss-crossed with creases. I especially liked the self-portraits that fell into this category. The unconscious speaks, indeed.

  2. From your corollary to another one: Dick Jewell’s Found Photos, a self published book of photographs people had abandoned in passport photobooths all over England, as Jermynsavile reminded me. I can’t help picking up photos wherever I find them: on the street, crumpled and hanging out of rubbish bags, in the pages of library books… Sometimes, the unconscious even shouts.

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