It is hard to know exactly why the light through a window, a corner we have never passed by, a room or a field suddenly hovers as familiar, as a place of our own. We feel as though we have been there before, that we once lived in harmony within its walls and knew its cracks along the ceiling. But memory is illusive, it allows us to recognize rather than truly see. Therefore, certain places can’t help but be personal because we notice similarities within, and the significance of dates, shadows, basement stairs, and fading skies. One thing or one place can almost always be like another.

Encountering a photograph of such places - a bordering memory - can have the same effect on us even though what we are experiencing is a reaction to an object, not to our immediate surroundings. With our abilities to tune into specific details, the paradigm to interpreting place almost always goes beyond what is right in front of us because being in place and recognizing place share the same phenomenological make-up. Our readings may vary, but experiencing place and seeing are both Physical, hence carry the ability to scar and imprint, which allows there to be an intervention of human experience. Through an image, that is, by observing a photograph, we pursue our own narratives. We understand it only as far as our dreams allow us to roam, objectively and subjectively; we read it as fact, but fundamentally as an impression – similar to the intuitive making of a photograph, which in some way is the act of remembering.

Photographers are born phenomenologists. Things speak to us; we hold value in the way insects get collected in jars or the gesture of someone displaying an object in their hand. The intimacies we can feel towards an image comes from our depths, our sights and our histories, and become integrated into our daily feeds and scrolls, and then reappear as films, texts, landscapes and poetry. Sometimes we make or take a photograph simply because it looks like one we know and like, or because it reminds us of another. This does not only apply to appropriation or the after-so-and-so and arrangement-for-such-and-such, but it is the simple ‘taking’ of the image or transferring of it onto our plates and prints that we try to possess, or rather re-possess a moment; to make it new or fragment it from a familiar story, as long as it becomes a part of our own. A photograph always sits between the biography of the artist and its representation. The familiar is really just a blip, an error that is the natural progression of re-imagining what we already know and understand.

JUNE 2014