Memories and Imagination

by Dawn Rodgers

On the 11th November 1993 at 11pm my brother’s existence ended. No more photographs could be taken, and no more memories made. My memories and the photographs I possessed were few and fleeting. This year my brother had been gone longer than he had lived and I found myself questioning how I remembered him. The work contained within my portfolio is centred around the loss of my brother, how I remember my past and how memories of those events inform my current identity.

I continue to explore how photographs play a part in creating and forming our memories and how this allows a scaffold for remembrance, mis-remembrance and or forgetfulness. Throughout my practice I have endeavoured to visualize how memory and photography are related and intertwined. How can photography aid and abet memory, how do we remember or mis-remember our past? How can photography play a part in informing and forming our identity? I aspired to create a visual language whereby I could explore the absence of my brother from my life. How his passing changed how I remember events in my own childhood and how photographs of myself and my sibling began to take on new meanings in light of his continued absence.

In the documentary film The Dark Shadow, Beatrice Jones reads the journal she had written to her daughter who was murdered,

I have decided my writing is going to be for Moira. This is something that may help me, something that will keep me focused, by giving me a purpose. Maybe my pain will be eased if, as I write of my desolation and despair. ” (Jones.2020)

This artefact is created for my brother, his memory is kept safely inside it. As Beatrice says maybe my pain will be eased as I create work, revisit the place and begin for the first time to remember him. May be my practise will ease the pain of others.

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Instagram: @dawn_s_rodgers

See the full series

Collage by Dawn Rodgers

If you could make it happen with a snap of your fingers, where and how would you like your work to be seen?

This is the Ferry Bridge Hotel and is the pub my brother regularly drank in; he kept his boat in Small Mouth Bay which is just behind the pub as you look at. This pub is now derelict and scheduled for demolition. I would love to exhibit the work I submitted to you on the outside of the pub, many of the photographs in the exhibition are taken near and around this pub. 

As my project is about him and the absence I feel at his no longer being in my life, it seemed fitting for it to be here. It would be incredibly sad for me to see the pub go as it is one of the last remaining physical objects that he was present in, where we could be together whilst still apart. The exhibition would be accompanied by the sound of the pebbles being drawn over Chesil Beach, and the call of gulls as the sunset, the smell of the briny air and the wind on your face. 

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