Somewhere on a disappearing path
“Come, child! Let’s listen to the bees singing.” my aunt would say every evening before we would go to bed. Her white hair always reminded me of dandelion seed heads, so beautiful and delicate you almost fear to touch them. I remember her singing while working in the garden, singing songs about the nature surrounding her. She would also spend long hours with me talking about the family I never knew, but always considered myself to be part of.
Looking at my parent’s family albums, I would imagine their lives before I was born. I constructed memories I didn’t have, playing them over and over again in my mind. Somehow I always felt that the people I saw in the albums differed from the people I saw next to me every day. These photographs, although connected with a particular history, triggered my own imagination, rather than gave me a specific knowledge of anything.
The ambivalence of photographs, their possibilities and limitations suggest we should not trust images as records of our lives and histories. In a quest to create my own version of a personal family album, I have traveled to where my mother and grandmother were born to meet these distant relatives in the place of our origin. I had never met them, but was told about them. My work addresses the idea of memory and ‘looking back’ through the creation of my own narrative based on my family history.
For the last two years, I have documented people in the remote village ‘Pilcene’ in the Eastern part of Latvia. In my search for traces of my family there, I looked for the people who knew my grandmother. Through their stories I became very aware of their attachment to the land, their homes and the importance of elements in nature to their being.
Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline is an exciting venture at Catherine Edelman Gallery inspired by the hundreds of photographs we see on blogs and online galleries. Started in January 2011, CEG introduces Chicagoans to new artists we find while searching the web, exhibiting a small selection of one person’s work every two months, taking the pictures offline and putting them on the wall. It is our goal that Ctrl+P will provide further exposure for these photographers away from the glow of a computer monitor and without the temptation to click to the next link. We hope you will join us by unplugging from the internet and visiting CEG to see these photographs the way they were intended — in print.