Photography and memory
Studying the faces of Cypriots photographed for the first time
(a sub-narrative analysis through face analysis techniques)
The evolution of photography went through so many different stages. Stages related to technology, to photographers mind, to history, to society, to memory… What I value more is the photographers state of mind and the memory. The memory which is seen not as documentation, proof or as time freezing act. Instead, a memory as an intuitive structure that captures hidden issues like the collective consciousness or even more interesting the absence of consciousness. This takes the form of a mysterious aggressiveness blended with fear and insecurity. It takes the form of an autonomous sub-cult which exists within anarchy. This type of photographs, is usually found accidentally in a forgotten drawer, a hidden suitcase or in photo archives with irrelevant photographs catalogued with thematic topics which are not related to the values mentioned here.
In the history of Cyprus photography the best example related to this approach of analyzing or better decoding the “memory images” which is still breathing on the surface of a worn out old paper (if you are lucky acid free), are groups of people photographed for the very first time not knowing the result of the photographers actions to their «image» – which that time was more or less equivalent to their soul. Sometimes, even today, I still relate human images as a part of the soul like the native American Indians believed.
This investigation has three sections
- The research itself (historic and theoretical context)
- The aesthetic forms and the narratives, enclosed in faces grouped together and looking directly into the lens. Psychology techniques used to analyse or better «read» the face of a person in relation to social and personal issues.
- The attempts to generate contemporary photographic practices based on today’s “consciousness”. This is an investigation with the support of digital technology to blend, reproduce and/or
The hardcore of this essay is:
1. a series of photos of an Armenian photographer, Papazian in 1901
2. and another photo by an unknown photographer who made a portrayed a prisoner chained to a policeman of that time (estimated 1918) just before he was taken to be hanged after he was contempt to death.
1. Papazian took these photos in a village near Nicosia during the funeral of its priest. All villagers were gathered around the open coffin outside the church. It was the first camera arriving in that village at that time. Photoshop was used as a tool for improving the quality of the images of the faces so they could be «decoded».
2. He was also photographed for the first time in opposition to the police man next to him who seems to have done it as part of his job before.
Photos and images will accompany the full text of this essay.