Echoes of Time: an exploration of photography, land, and memories
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Echoes of Time: an exploration of photography, land, and memories is an art-based research project that investigates how photography can be employed to examine the relationship between land and memory.
The artistic output of this research reflects a personal experimental documentation of a meaning of place, the local, the home, and the imagined through the lens of memory and belonging. Belonging, attachment to place, and family connections have been the conduits to encounter, interrogate, and engage through various photographic practices. The use of different visual representations explores attachment and engagement with place and allowed the creative element of this research to be the voice for these research methodologies, culminating in a trilogy of hand-made books.
The investigation is elaborated in the form of three nodes. Each has been given a unique title that contextualises a sub-theme within the research. • The first node, Hinterland relates to the parish where I live; a place where my paternal family have lived for over three hundred years. This node investigates the parish boundary, thus considering the locality through photographic mapping referencing Yi Fu Tuan. Tuan’s approach focuses on how place becomes a small world of personal experience. • The second node, Wryttún considers the boundary of the home, which has been in my family for three generations. The footprint of my garden is investigated as a place of belonging and attachment through its materiality referencing Edward Relph. This considers how Relph’s concept of attachment is interrogated through the materiality of the garden as a form of mapping place. • The final node, Hiraeth explores the influence of memories of place creating imagined landscapes through constructed images referencing Roland Barthes. Whereas Barthes used photography to search for memories, this work seeks to use memories of place to create images of former lived experiences.
This research contributes to existing knowledge by creating an artistic autobiographical account of the ways in which family lineage and connection enhance meanings of place.
A substantial period of this Doctoral Research was carried out during the 2020-2022 Covid Pandemic and, although is not specifically related to the research questions, was significantly influenced and limited by the number and length of national lockdowns.