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Recreate a childhood memory in a photograph.

Memories in general and childhood memories in particular are not ‘taken’ or saved like photographs. Memories are enveloped in emotion along with all the senses, not just sight. For example, what makes a particular childhood visit to Grandma’s house memorable could be the beautiful summer’s day on which it occurred, the smell of baking bread coming from the kitchen as you arrived, the taste of strawberries and cream , the feel on her hand of Granma’s velvet settee cushions, the sound of Grandma’s voice saying your name, her smiling face. Photography demands a visual reconstruction. A direct way of doing this is to recreate photographs from childhood as for example in Wilma Hurskainen’ ‘Growth’ (Hurskainen, 2004 – 2006). Hurskainen describes her series:

Growth is a project in which I reconstructed and re-photographed pictures that my dad took of me and my three little sisters when we were children. I tried to make the new photograph look as similar as possible to the old one: the place and the composition are the same, and so are our positions and facial expressions (Hurskainen, 2004 – 2006).

Figure 1 shows one such photograph from the series.

While Hurskainen’s series deals with childhood and memory it does not recreate a particular memory, merely the re-enactment of an event i.e. the posing for a childhood photograph. Some or even all of the now adults posing for the re-enactment photographs may have no memory of the time when the original photograph was posed and taken, and it is not necessary that they do – the original photograph is enough.

This Exercise attempts something different, to recreate a childhood memory. For something to be remembered it has to have some significance, after all not everything is or could possibly be remembered. Therefore when choosing a memory to recreate I consider what makes the event or place memorable, why do I remember this and not all the other myriad things that happened in childhood?


Hurskainen, Wilma, (2004 -2006) Growth [online] At: http://www.wilmahurskainen.com/series/growth/growth.html (Accessed on 26.01.15)

List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Hurskainen, Wilma, (2004 -2006) Birthday Cake, 2005 [C-print on aluminium] At: http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets/slideshows/244086/slide_244086_1360131_free.jpg (Accessed on 26.01.15)