Midterm Project – Memory and Place

For my midterm project, I initially wanted to travel around Denver and do a fairly straightforward architecture/landscape survey, where I would take photos of both of those things to understand how they interact and what makes a building unique where it is. Due to some sickness and unexpected travel I took less Denver photos than I thought and lost some creative motivation for that angle. So, I instead turned to a mix of photos I took during the project period and much older photos to explore the question of, “how do landscapes, buildings and memory intersect?”

I found that the answer was really dependent on memory, so I set out to explore how I remember old places months or years after I travel there. I think exploring this concept through archival photos was fun because it allowed me to reflect on how poor the human memory can be, and instead of the sleek, orderly photos I initially set out to take, I instead found that conveying the concept of bad memory and emotions was doable by layering images on top of each other, to create surreal environments to reflect this theme.

I found it fun to pick two contrasting places I took, like a snowy mountaintop and desert rocks (and in some cases, images I sourced if I couldn’t feasibly take the photo, like the underwater one), to reflect a sense of unease, chaos or confusion through these contrasting colors, shapes and overall lack of logic. I think it creates a visually rich photograph because the blends aren’t perfect purposefully so they feel “stitched” together, almost like what I see in my head when I picture past trips, the emotions I felt on them, and how these memories get distorted over time. The images’ emotions are varied, some are meant to be comedic, like enlarging my cat enormously, and some are meant to be more melancholic, like bridges leading to nowhere or sands and snows that are spilling over into man-made landscapes and taking over. Again, it’s meant to overall reflect a more nihilistic view on the human memory, and how arbitrary the distinctions between man-made and natural places, different places, different memories can be as time goes on.