Exercise 3: Childhood Memories

Recreate a childhood memory in a photograph.​ Think carefully about the memory you choose and how you’ll recreate it. You’re free to approach this task in any way you wish.

  1. Does the memory involve you directly or is it something you witnessed?
  2. Will you include your adult self in the image (for example, to ‘stand in’ for your childhood self) or will you ask a model to represent you? Or will you be absent from the image altogether? (You’ll look at the work of some artists who have chosen to depict some aspect of their life without including themselves in the image in the next project.)
  3. Will you try and recreate the memory literally or will you represent it in a more metaphorical way, as you did in Part Two?
  4. Will you accompany your image with some text?
  5. In your learning log, reflect on the final outcome. How does the photograph resemble your memory? Is it different from what you expected? What does it communicate to the viewer? How?
“Have you eaten?”

To be honest, I’ve found this exercise more difficult than some of the other brief from the course so far. I think this is mainly because I am not one for dwelling on memories of childhood. There are several I can bring to mind but not ones that I wanted to share for this exercise, partly because of how personal they are and partly because the scope of the memories needs a least an assignment to fulfil. Instead I have been spending time waiting for the right reminder to capture. This has helped with the planning of the shot by allowing it come naturally instead of forcing an idea and also the execution in that when the memory strikes it must be of a significantly similar scenario to trigger it.

For this image I chose to not include myself, mainly as the core of the image is about familial love and that is something mostly universal and the viewer would be able to associate with the subject better if they aren’t distracted by the inclusion of a human figure.

I haven’t tried to recreate the memory literally, there so many different ‘versions’ of the memory that I don’t feel I would be able to satisfactorily capture the literal meaning of the image but I have taken a literal approach to the contents of the image and the building blocks of the memory.

I have consistently been using captions to communicate a ‘key’ to the image and have continued in this image with the typical question my Gran and Mum would ask.

The goal of the image is to communicate the love of my Grandparents and Parents through the use of food. Nearly every conversation, even to this day will start with “Have you eaten?”. I know this is a way for them to check on my wellbeing and show generosity and caring. I selected this specific objects to represent that sentiment as I have an association of corn beef sandwiches with summer time lunches at home. The salad cream was the typical condiment on offer and even now the taste of those ingredients combined is like a tasty treat.

I don’t really know how I expected the image to turn out, the memory for me is more the taste and the association with lunchtime than a specific action or event. I know I wanted an image that was ‘full’ and ‘messy’, just because that’s how I remember making sandwiches at home, but I also knew I didn’t want the image to be crowded with conflicting colours. I also wanted the image to represent the past, but the recent past and also capture a little of the connotation of memory. The use of de-saturation throughout the full colour spectrum helps reduce the modern heightened colours and conflicting palette, which lends itself to the past also, whilst a slight bump in the reds helps keep the corned beef focal, if even a little off putting in its redness. I kept the heavy shadows to work with the dream like memory feel.

I think that the heaviness of the shadows plays a little into my own thoughts on my memories, where to get to them I have to dig through the emptiness to find them. Also I think it may lean towards the council estate upbringing in the 1980’s. Neither of these things were intentional but I have seen similar effects in other work such as ‘Ray’s a Laugh’

I think this all results in a message to the viewer of the simplicity and no-frills upbringing but its the context of the caption that brings out the warmth of the memory.

5 thoughts on “Exercise 3: Childhood Memories

    1. Thank s Jonathon, you’re always so kind and supportive with your comments. I think, in retrospect, I’ve gone a little ‘far’ with the edit but I guess that what the exercises are there for to help refine the ideas and process before the assignment.

      Liked by 1 person

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