Old Weathered Photographs – how they were made…

I constructed the contents of the images on photoshop and then transferred them onto pieces of metal which I’d bent and warped to look like old folded pieces of paper, and then rusted them using chemicals to make them look old.

For the show translations, I presented them on a thin shelf on a white wall. This is not necessarily how I would have liked to show them because you could only see the ‘front’ of them, while the back was leaning agains the wall. They are sculptures and therefore don’t just have a ‘front’ but a ‘back’ too. Putting up the exhibition was a bit last minute, but I was thinking that they might be nice to show in a box, or stacked…. But I’m not sure…

When I look at them, there are two words that come into mind for me; authentic and nostalgic. They are both words that refer back to something, and create an ‘aura’, which what I wanted because, photographs document (/refer back to) an event, however these photographs refer to nothing; they only exist as themselves.

NOSTALGIC: -of a memory/ time in your life, however you always remember things inaccurately. Photographs create a vision of once was, and often jolt a memory but can also create a false memory. We often feel nostalgic towards memories and photographs, and that’s why it is interesting that these photographs create a sense of nostalgia, because the nostalgia is existing on its own, making you question the reality of the word and the feeling of it.

AUTHENTIC: -a very overused word, especially within capitalism/advertising/selling, which has been so repeated that it has morphed its meaning into something slightly different (but I think still disguises itself as the word its used to mean). Authentic is original, however I think now it can also be cheekily used as ‘like the original’ or ‘very similar to’. The rust on the photographs creates an exaggerated sepia effect which makes them seem ‘authentic’; old. Again, this is interesting because they appear to be referring back to a memory/time in my life, and they appear, at first glance, to be photographs, but they are forged, and the metal poses as a photograph, and the original that it appears to refer to doesn’t exist. Therefore they are not authentic photographs, they just pretend to be, but in an exaggerated way. But exaggeration is also a theme in constructed authenticity, for example in highly touristic areas where a place is made to look ‘extra Greek’ or ‘very London’ in order to please the tourist’s expectations.

However, the sculptures are authentic in themselves because they are the originals, and do not refer back to any memory or time in my life. They exist on their own. There is nothing more real than them.

My photoshop skills are a bit touch and go – but luckily I think the rust and the chemicals covers up that weakness nicely. Some of the photographs definitely came out better than the other ones – I had to experiment with the process to see what worked best.

I was happy with the shapes I managed to create with the metal and think that they mimic folded, old paper relatively well. I also really like the textures and colours created on the surface of the photographs and am interested in how that contributed to how one perceives and believes (or doesn’t) what they are looking at.

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