Visiting my grandparents' childhood home was like travelling through a treasure trove of
cherished memories. Tattered photographs emerged from old suitcases, each one a
testimony to surviving a near-fatal house fire. These vintage photographs, some burnt and
torn, others remarkably intact, stood as silent witnesses - the only mementos left of precious
moments. During these formative visits, my passion for photography, particularly in its
printed, analogue form, was ignited.
The series titled "Silent Witness" goes beyond mere pictorial representation and
reconstruction of images and investigates the intricate layers of intergenerational family
trauma spanning four generations. This trauma encompasses the mentioned house fire,
wartime ordeals, instances of domestic adversity, and notably, their profound psychological
impacts. Through meticulous inquiry, this series ventures beyond visual restoration, probing
the nuanced implications of familial trauma on the human psyche. It endeavors to unravel the
profound repercussions stemming from these events, encapsulating the enduring effects
across multiple generations.
The technique I employ involves dissecting and reconstructing vintage photographs to
breathe new life and universal meaning into their faded narratives. I believe that these
fragmented photographs have the potential to reinterpret the past and reshape our
understanding of the present and future. Based on personal experiences, I interweave
whimsical and ironic elements highlighting the revitalising power of recovery. The usage of
photographic portraits and snapshots in collage as a medium to embody mental trauma is a
poignant and thought-provoking approach to deep understanding and articulation. It forces
me to consider what an artwork of mental suffering might depict and how photography can
help to manifest the elusive and often inexpressible. Traditionally, photography has served as
a means of preserving memories, capturing moments and making them tangible over time.
However, in creating art out of psychological trauma, photography takes on a transformative
role. It moves from being a tool of memory to one of revelation and expression. It provides a
channel for those who have experienced psychological trauma to illuminate their hidden
inner wounds, which can be difficult to articulate. Photography, when used to document
psychological trauma, becomes a powerful tool of revelation and expression, transcending its
role as a mere repository of memory. It allows individuals to confront and validate their
emotional pain, making it tangible and empowering proactive steps towards healing.
At the heart of my research are questions such as: What does a photograph really do? Can it
act as a metamorphosis and, instead of capturing a moment in time, change that moment
forever? Can self-documentation of psychological trauma, or trauma in general, facilitate the
healing process? I aim to expose the hidden scars of the past through my work in order to
create dialogues about healing and resilience.