Mementos of Past Lives

Mementos of Past Lives” is a series exploring the capacity of a photograph to be a vessel of remembrance. We are bombarded with images of disaster and, as such, it is argued that our society has become immune to footage of suffering and catastrophe. I am interested in how we cope with the idea of loss and mortality. By exploring ways to use the photograph as a memento to tragedy, my aim is to reinstate a sensitivity that may have been lost through the over exposure to images of disaster in vernacular culture. With this series I am attempting to bring a renewed sense of time and consideration to sites of human pain, change and loss.

Vehicle accidents on the road are a daily occurrence and a vast statistic that is truly incomprehensible. I want to take the numbers off the page into something that we can relate to on a visual level. I am revisiting crash sites and photographing black spots. Each photograph is titled with the number of accidents that have occurred at each location within a decade. With the connotation of death attached to the digital compositions, the images become a “memento mori,” remembering and immortalizing the last moments of life.
I think an important part to this work is the realization of mortality. They are death portraits, but more than that they are a reminder of our own journey in life that one day will ultimately be cut short. However, within the pictures there is life; there is a reincarnation and continuation. The world doesn’t end and life for everything else doesn’t stop. The traces of people linger in the minds of those left behind. There is little physical evidence left at the sites of death. By identifying these sites I am capturing the absence of people.

Team Credits

Katie Longley

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