This trio of images have been produced surrounding the idea of memory. I wanted to create a set of images that relate to how I remember an environment from my childhood. In order to show how memory ages, I wanted to focus on removing minor details in order to achieve a more minimalist impact, thus creating images that resemble illustrative traits but yet remain as physical photographs.
The way in which I made this work can be perceived as rather contradictory, using 35mm film I captured these scenes of fun and playful theme park rides from a locked-out perspective. After receiving the scans from my negatives, I began to retouch and spot-pick my images, boiling them down to the subject of each image and the wall that divides them from the outside world. I wanted to create a set of images which sit within a grey area between documentary and fine art, between reality and memory.
Film is currently within a resurgence, with people turning to it for its tangibility and considerate photographic process. It is a common debate amongst film photographers as of whether film images should be edited/retouched, often referring to how its authenticity lies within its imperfections. However, this does link to my personal understanding of bias and its relationship with nostalgia and how memories that to us are so authentic, can become products of our own imagination.
I wanted to use strong, vibrant colours to further inform the idea of memory distortion and remembering places and objects in a sugar-coated way, creating a sense of nostalgia. For example, I grew up playing video games a lot, even more so when I used to visit my Dad before I lived with him. He used to let me play games that mum wouldn’t and in that short time I got to enjoy them in secret which created a stronger emotionally charged memory of them.
I enjoy taking time here and there to reflect on my experiences from when I was younger, but it becomes clear with the benefit of hindsight that my memory of these games is inaccurately portrayed as visually they are not as pleasing as I remember. I believe this over-compensation within my memory is a result of conceptual bias nostalgia. The enjoyment I got out of these games outweighed their graphical capabilities, painting a misrepresented memory of a past-reality.
Although our fondness for nostalgia is one that we hold close to ourselves personally, I find the concept of bias nostalgia interesting, how our connections to times and places are often oversaturated by our own imagination. In no way is this a bad thing. To be able to look back on memories with a heightened sense of belonging and happiness can only be perceived positively, even if we are unknowingly making these memories better than they once were.
Words: Tommy Grimmer, BA (Hons) Photography, @Tommyleegrimmer