Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance
JUNE 17–SEPTEMBER 4, 2005
Since its invention, photography has been inextricably tied up with the act of remembrance. Photographs help us to recall family, beloved friends, special moments, trips, and other events, speaking across time and place to foster an emotional bond between subject and viewer. But what kind of memories are these? Can photographs conjure the immediate, physically embracing experience of involuntary memory, or is the photographic medium only capable of providing frozen illustrations of the past? Forget Me Not focuses on the complex relationship between photography and remembrance, exploring the practice of strengthening the emotional appeal of photographs by embellishing them—with text, paint, frames, embroidery, fabric, string, hair, flowers, cigar wrappers, butterfly wings, and more. The end results are strange and often beautiful hybrid objects. These adornments allow some photographs to conjure touch, sound, and smell as well as sight, offering a far more involving memorial experience than photography alone can provide.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, and is the ninth in the series "New Histories of Photography." It is made possible by the generous support of The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.
Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance is based on an exhibition originally commissioned by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.