Photographic Visual Artist and Educator Clair Robins is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘Merging Present & Past’. To see Clair’s body of work, click on any image.
Why are we forever searching and seeking out the past? Part of our being is constructed to be nostalgic and reminiscent. We often have an ardent desire to revisit and reflect on hazy memories to straighten out the facts from our childhood. Holding onto the past is never really complete, there are facets that get distorted and reimagined – the information is past down and not always correct, sometimes understated, or embellished. Distinct memories and desires interpolate the truth, and fill-in the gaps. However, objects and personal possessions reveal elements of the truth, that we can’t overlook. Is it quite bizarre to want to hoard ‘souvenirs’, or is this intrinsic to human nature – never really wanting to quite let go or move on?
My collection of keepsakes are more than mementoes; these images are a record of our family history – physical connections that have shaped our future and informed us of our past. Used, loved, practical or treasured, passed on from mother, to father, to daughter and granddaughter. In this work I am both visually and conceptually exploring the ever-shifting changes within my family and my obsession to preserve ‘things’ as a reminder, almost keeping rooted to who I am and where I come from.
Through my image making, that combines current shots and images photographed at my ‘empty’ late grandma’s house in 2011, I have endeavoured create new opportunities, explore previously unshared stories though my memories and false (or truthful) recollections.
The diptychs are slowly piecing together my fond memories of Edna and how she lived, exploring her possessions, and reflecting how grandparents for most, can be key elements of family life. They had such an impact on me and my sister during my childhood years, and help shaped my upbringing, not just a babysitter, but a good listener, a storyteller, and a helping hand. History is now repeating itself with my two daughters. We need to keep collecting and adding to this huge historical narrative for the future, my images hope to preserve and celebrate the ordinary.
All images and text © Clair Robins
By Clair Robins
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Mixing present with the past is definitely a work of art.