Memory is delicate, we think of it as static, but it's fluid and ever changing. Each memory we have is clouded by our conceptions, perceptions, moods, and through time — what we think we remember may not have been.
We carry memories we wish we could destroy, to remove their burden upon us. How about a good memory? Would you willfully destroy a single good memory? Photography is one way we augment our recollection of life and events. What we photograph is how we want to conceive the present — later the past — and how we wish to be perceived. Would you be willing to destroy a photograph that binds you to a special memory or event? Would destroying it help you to have a stronger connection, especially if all traces of that photograph would be gone? Leaving you with only the memory.
That is what I did.
Moving to Tokyo in 2006 was a significant life event for me, so for this project I chose one photograph for every year that I have been living in Japan — photographs that hold special importance to me. There needed to be meaning in each photograph, a strong emotional connection to an important event or a certain memory; a photograph that would be missed if it was gone. Without that emotional connection this project would have been for naught.
Once selected I printed one copy of each photograph, and then froze them — like how I perceive the memory of that event is frozen in my mind. These frozen images, like the memories of them I carry, are clouded, cracked and distorted. Then I purposely shattered each one, much like the way our perceptions of an event can be shattered when confronted with conflicting evidence.
I then went one step further — destruction. I deleted the digital file for each photograph, and erased the surface of each one clean — I removed all traces of the photographs, leaving only these frozen and shattered images, and the memories I carry with me. I would like to believe that by purposely destroying these photographs I have strengthened the memory of the event depicted, but in time what will I recall? The authentic memory, or the reality of the memory that I have constructed in my mind ...