To Remember

I have few memories from my childhood. After my father died when I was eleven, I tried to forget my life up to that point. I didn’t want to remember. In our family pictures, I saw unfamiliar places and people I couldn’t recognize.

My works are based on old family photographs taken by my father. He worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and was a keen amateur photographer. He had three cameras, and he made markings on his negative pages with a green pen. From one of the pages the negatives are missing – only my father’s markings are left. The missing negatives are like my memories: knowing that they are gone makes their presence even stronger.

In the photographic series To Remember, I use the technique of multiple exposures to merge the past images with the present. For me, it is important that the elements of the picture are not separable, but rather constitute a whole, also physically. The unpredictability of the method, the haziness of the pictures and the faded colors reflect my experience of forgetting and remembering. My photographs are not recollections but rather images of forgetting, memories I am unable to reach.

– Milja Laurila