no pain, no aware ness & no memory

by Lawrence George Giles

Mirroring the theme of ‘Alternative Processes’ and non standard approaches as showcased the by the Texas Photographic Society, no pain, no awareness, and no memory is created from a series of found 35mm negatives circa 1960’s in Liverpool, and displayed as a film based circular narrative.

It explores the role of the custodian of a family album in the collating and orchestration of future remembering, the process by which photographs prompt memories and the subjectivity of our own remembering.

As Lawrence states… “I’m interested in the process of editing with the aim of not making something factually impeccable, but seamlessly persuasive. The creation of a narrative(s) which go beyond the actual content of each single photograph, with this ‘beyond’ shifting from the objective to the subjective. How this subjectivity adds to our perception and interpretation of what we see within the photograph to the point at which we begin to create plausible and tangible narratives.

Lawrence No pain No6I’m very interested in the importance of archive and the significant role that women play in terms of the formulation and creation of memory. Not simply the domestic maintainer of family ‘keepsake’, more so as the custodian and curator of family record and recall. I’m also intrigued by what we choose to remember, what we choose to omit, discard or forget and how visual narratives are constructed and re-constructed and ultimately presented or represented.

On the surface they are simply a series of scanned 35mm negs I found depicting Liverpool in the 1960’s which provide a small insight or aspect of one familie’s life. However I was drawn to them because of their imperfection. They’re what you would generally describe as being poorly shot, exposed or framed. They’re also imperfect in many ways, some might even say ruined, as each individual image is either scratched, under or overexposed or poorly processed.

They’re the types of shots we would generally perceive as failures. However it’s exactly this and that fact that the negs themselves have obviously ‘lived a life’ of their own which intrigued me. It’s also because they’re taken in the 1960’s, in Liverpool and they evoked both a time and place I could personally associate with, being born in Liverpool myself in the 60’s.

Lawrence No pain No5There are hint’s or glimpses of Liverpool in one or two shots which although you cannot fully make them out due to the nature of the damage to the negatives, nevertheless they resonated with me and my own memories of being brought up in the centre of Liverpool around that time. Although only small in number they all appear to focus upon or concentrate upon the figure of a mother and child and their immediate surroundings.

For me there’s a sense of loss in the series of images, which is re-enforced by the fact of where and how I found them. It’s that feeling I suppose that first made me start to consider the potential narrative possibilities of the images as a series or set and how I might present or represent them.

The reason they’re displayed as a circular narrative filmic format relates directly to the striking image of the female figure framed within the doorway, herself being somewhat framed by the sprocket holes of the negative. She appears both pivotal and central to the collection of images, being surrounded by her environment, items of ephemera, icons of the 60’s or physical location and she also reoccurs in virtually all the shots.”

Lawrence No pain No7 “The additional significant image, which immediately struck me, is the image of the child and the emblazoned text within the framing of the negative itself, which reads ‘hypersensitive’. It’s also the reflection of the reflection of the child, which you can just make out in the image of the mirror in another shot.

Lawrence No pain No2

For me there is at least one narrative if not several which might be read from the series, however I am perhaps more interested and intrigued by the narrative possibilities and constructs the piece might hold for others. Again this brings me back full circle to my overarching interests in photography which engage with the field of visual narrative and the utilisation of the photograph as an aide memorie.

The mnemonic functions of the photograph in securing notions and understanding of the past and the processes by which photographs prompt memories. Photography’s potential to possess or cross the threshold between physiological / psychological response in terms of record, memory and meaning.”

Lawrence No pain No1

Site: WARP Liverpool, Hurst Street, Liverpool L1 8DA

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