“Before the invention of photography, significant moments in the flow of our lives would be like rocks placed in a stream: impediments that demonstrated but didn’t diminish the volume of the flow and around which accrued the debris of memory, rich in sight, smell, taste, and sound. No snapshot can do what the attractive mnemonic impediment can: when we outsource that work to the camera, our ability to remember is diminished and what memories we have are impoverished.” – Sally Mann, Hold Still
One of my uni subjects this semester was on memory studies and how memory can influence history as a discipline. So I’ve been reflecting a lot on photography and memory and my work lately, and I keep coming back to these words, on the fallibility of memory and the selectivity of photography, and hence the Proustian necessity to love and make and live every present day. It’s why, generally, I don’t carry my camera with me on everyday errands. Sometimes I’ll see something that I wish I had my camera for. But then I’ll put into a notes page on my phone and somehow, it’s different. Having laid out that uneasy, tense relationship (with photography, with social media, with blogging), I freely admit I do love to explore different styles of photography, and lately I’ve taken to black and white street photography.
I love living in Melbourne. It’s where I was born and raised, and a place I think of as home, and yet still somewhere I love to explore. And even if it’s a place I’ve been to many times over, every day I see it with fresh (if rather tired) eyes. And as the seasons change, the people and the place does too. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of this place. And while I love roadtripping and getting out into nature (as I often talk about), the city is where my everyday life happens.
But, something that I never quite comprehended was the magic of capturing these moments. Until I stumbled upon some amazing Instagrammers who shoot street scenes in black and white. There are so many types of photography that I’ve dipped into over the years (as you can see from the archives above, and even on my previous website), but I am still in such awe of what a monochrome image can do to evoke emotion, even though there is no colour. Often when I have certain thoughts, I’ll think of something or someone I’ve read about and make a link. But I’m convinced nothing can explain the wonder of a black and white street snap. And that’s why I’m starting this series as an ode to my city. We’ll see where it goes. But for now, enjoy these autumn diaries.