Photo Essay

Souvenirs

loreley

The project began in 1999 on a cold, grey November day on assignment at the Loreley cliffs near Mainz, Germany. The postcard in my pocket for my daughter looked much better than the real place, so I held it up in place and shot. Little did I know I was beginning a series that would continue to this day.

The rules are simple: Only use souvenirs that you can actually buy at the place, and you must be able to hold it with one hand.

Much later I realized that I was not only poking gentle fun at souvenirs, but also at the things I was replacing them with. People buy souvenirs to mark an event in their lives. They reassure us that we live and have taken part in life, however marginally.

Most importantly, we can take them home. They belong to us - unlike the original. In a way, the medium of photography is a souvenir machine; freezing tiny fragments out of the river of our experience and giving us a fleeting control over our lives.

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