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? It might be interesting to show your photograph to friends or family members – perhaps someone who was there at the time and someone who wasn’t – and see what the image conveys to them.
The memory I want to recreate involved me directly and happened when I was about ten years old. I was a very decent runner for my age and had begun to win races at local events. There was a championship called the ‘The Community Games’ which was a showcase of the best runners from around Ireland and the first step was to qualify for it so you could represent your area. This in itself was a big deal-to qualify for the community games brought a lot of kudos.
I had managed to get to the final of the 200m under 12s in the qualification races and expectations (within the family) were high that I would qualify. The pressure was on.
I was racing against boys older than me (big deal at that age) but managed to lead the race from the first bend but stumbled and fell 20 meters from the line.
I didn’t qualify-not that year anyway, but the disappointment was huge-funnily enough, not for me but for the family.
I decided against using myself in the image as my memory of that day is in lying on the ground seeing the grass and the feet of the spectators before someone lifted me up and carried me off.
I iterated 2 images for the exercise. The first one is a view of the field from Google maps earth view-luckily the field still exists-every field around it has been built upon with housing estates. The second image is of the grass and people’s legs- that’s the overriding memory – lying on the grass sobbing my heart out.
An exercise like this was a lot harder than I expected. It required a lot of thought as it’s not using the image to faithfully record an event, but communicating a memory that I felt needed a combination of elements-text and image to stop the viewer from getting completely lost.
I struggled between trying to control the meaning and just letting go and accepting that viewers will interpret it on their terms anyway. As I came round to accepting that images are malleable I began to prefer the second image.
Looking at the image I feel that the caption will influence their interpretation of its meaning. Was I talking about a fight…