Gallery One: Family Albums

“A photographic album is a repository of memory”
Langford, M. Speaking the Album: An Application of the Oral- Photographic Framework. In Locating Memory. (ed) Annette Kuhn and Kirsten Emiko McAllister. YC.2007.a.7765


The Blakeney Collections. Add.63136

How do we remember and how do we preserve our memories? These are the questions that I constantly ask myself and continue to fascinate me.

At the Library I began my research by looking at photo albums and photographs from Africa, Asian-Pacific Studies and the Manuscript collections. I was interested in seeing how the photographs are assembled, selected, positioned and juxtaposed in albums – how a narrative is born by arranging them on a page.

The Life of the Cooper Family in Sukhumi was one of my favourite family albums. The album comes in two volumes which centre on a girl called Winnie. The albums allow you to watch Winnie growing up.

The Life of the Cooper Family in Sukhumi

The Life of the Cooper Family in Sukhumi, Georgia 1894-1909. Add.70643A
The Life of the Cooper Family in Sukhumi, Georgia 1894-1909. Add.70643A
The Life of the Cooper Family in Sukhumi, Georgia 1894-1909.  Add.70643A
The Life of the Cooper Family in Sukhumi, Georgia 1894-1909. Add.70643A

This page particularly caught my eye. All the photos except for Winnie are peeling and cracking like the paint off a wall. These images are poignant yet almost ghost like, capturing the fading time. Interestingly this was the last page of the album.

“Family photographs may affect to show us our past, but what we do with them – how we use them- is really about today, not yesterday”
Hirsh, Marianne. Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory, published 1997, YC.1998.b.2509

The Blakeney Collections

The Blakeney Collections. Add.63136
The Blakeney Collections. Add.63136

A photo of a young Japanese family onboard a Japanese ship. The images make you question whether the family are leaving or going to Japan.