Summer in Retrospect: A Series of Poignant Photographic Artworks
By Helen Stead
8 Sep 2011
I am a visual artist who specializes in mixed media and alternative photography processes. I collect old analogue photographs of family pictures to create a series of art work. I use a number of different processes to capture a certain mood or atmosphere within my pieces. I also like to use a combination of image transfers (solvent, emulsion and photo paper techniques), printing on to different papers, photo manipulation (both digitally and by hand), film photography, mixed media and textile approaches. I like looking back at old family photographs and using them to create a new piece of work. It allows me to reflect on my past and explore my own family history.
The aim of my work is to create images that are both poignant and nostalgic; looking back on times gone by and breathing new life into them. However, my work often has a bittersweet feeling attached to it, as I often deal with difficult subject matter such as the death of my father. I also explore themes surrounding the transience of youth and the ideas of paralysis and the death of routine we face in adulthood.
I am interested in the authenticity of images and how narratives can easily be constructed around what we see. This in itself can be a construct set up for the viewer by the photographer of subject to provoke a particular response.
I am also interested in how technology is changing the way we 'store' these tangible memories and like working with old photographs that have been worn and felt by many different people over the years. Texture and tangibility is important to me in my work and I like to record and document on the dusty fingerprints, worn edges and sun bleached images that are left behind after years of being passed down the generations.
By sharing my work I'd like to pose a few questions:
- Do you collect old photographs?
- What do you do with them?
- How often do you flick through an old family album and reflect on days gone by?