Archive / Be Home Soon (2011)

Category: Photographic Art


Archive (Be Home Soon)

(Part of ‘Love in Absence’)

Within personal archives of images, if constructed and maintained by one individual, it is expected that that person specifically becomes visually absent from the collection. In my family, it was working abroad with work on a regular basis, it was my father. Meticulously annotated and preserved by my mother, his presence was instead manifested largely into two scrapbooks of postcards sent home from his travels between 1997 and 2011. With one form of vernacular photography superseded by another, namely the innocuous snapshot by rhetorical utopian postcard, Love In Absence as a whole documents a search for a photographic presence absent from its own archive.

Faithfully reproduced in Archive each individual page of the original scrapbook albums record the journeys across the world as the father who sent them worked away on business – the actual location or address their sender made is abstract, superficial landmarks visited by tourists in distant lands. With their photographic content mainly of places, not of people, they reveal little about the sender’s location or well-being. They become a surrogate portrait of the sender, offering an alternative to his likeness albeit a rhetorical record of his journeys.