Saturday, 10 September 2011

View from the Mont-real

A fine day at the old port nestled under the shade of a tree. I can't quite get used to the idea of a port without the sea, the salt air and the rhythmic rise and fall of the tides. I've seen photos of this place covered in snow too, hard to believe on a beautiful day like this.

My parents, who love going on holiday to new places, always take loads of photos. They have books and books full of these photos. When I or my siblings look through these albums it's difficult to stay focussed, since the photos themselves are not remarkable. To see them as photos for the sake of a beautiful image would be missing the point though, because the photos function as triggers for stories or micro-memories, things experienced along the way from one place to another and back again. Usually looking through one of these books is an invitation to listen to my parents recall their adventures. One day I will try reading them alone.

There are a few through-lines in these books like the Janice-and-flower-garden series. Every few pages you will see a picture of my mother centered in a flower garden in full bloom. The subject remains the same, but the subtle differences appear in my mother's face, her sometimes disapproving smile as she waits for my father to take the picture or to hopefully take her out to a restaurant. The flowers change of course but the real interest for me is this relationship between flowers and my mother, which my father insists in photographing.

I spoke with a journalist recently who said she had read my entire blog, which I found slightly alarming because I had never considered that anyone would ever read the whole thing. In fact I have never read the whole thing (considering that I started this project in 2007), and somehow she had an objectivity of my time spent inside the little house in a way that I had never been privileged to. Every narrative is made up of microscopic images or sensations that only only come together to form a memory once they are strung together to form some cohesive story.

These photos from yesterday at the old port in Montreal were mostly taken after conversations with the person in the photo, each unrelated apart from the fact that they were framed by my window. Yet here there is some kind of narrative totally unrelated to the individuals. For me the photos are little markers that remind me of conversations or reflections.

Make your own story...