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Amy Friend


© Amy Friend, Every Night

Dare alla Luce

The ideas for this work began many years ago during shared conversations I had, with my eldest and closest relative, my Nonna, while viewing familial photographs. She shared memories and thoughts as we sat together looking through the images. Her life was present in the photos we viewed with scenes of her homeland shared by family across oceans…there were images of wartime, weddings, babies, landscapes, family, and everyday moments. However, in these images from her life there were times when she misplaced a memory, name, or circumstance. This experience pulled me in - and I considered the potential of photographs as objects and what meaning they hold when much of their provenance becomes lost. I also considered how personal photographs shape an understanding of our individual world and what differences exist in familial imagery. In other words, what photos are out there and why? What do they say and what do they hide? How can I make us see them again and if we take the time to look what will we see?

© Amy Friend, We Are Reflections

Instead of focusing on my own familial photos, I decided to collect vernacular photographs from a variety of sources. Through multiple experiments and studio processes, I eventually hand pierced these photos in order to allow light to flow through the piercings. I will expand on the reasons for my process further in this statement.
The series title, Dare alla Luce, is an Italian reference to childbirth and a literal translation meaning “to bring to the light”. It beckons us to think about how we understand the medium of photography. It comes from the light after all. It is capable of being born over and over as we are changed each time we encounter images. Their fixed visual form is changed by our experience of them and our understanding of photography. It is in this sense reborn complicity.

© Amy Friend, Look at Them

I worked on this project for several years with large periods of inactivity as I became engrossed in the abundance of images for sale. I contemplated what this act of collecting meant. As a part of my process, collecting informed and shaped my interpretation of the imagery I found.
I was engulfed in the mystery of who “we are”. The photos represent a bit of “us” and by “us”, I mean, our world – both the familiar and distant. And yet, there are monstrous amounts of photos that are not found in the bric a brac of vernacular sales. Specific demographics, moments in history, and time periods are mostly missing - unrecorded, lost, or hidden.

© Amy Friend, That is How the Light Gets In

What I present is both a “snapshot” of photographs that have been set aside, collected, with a limited provenance. These photos offer us a place to stop, observe and reflect on their moments of mystery, beauty, oddity, joy, solitude, nostalgia and even creativity. I imagine that I am working collaboratively with photographers and the subjects that I have never met.  I am sharing their world with my world and engaging with who we are, what was and now, what is.
We are incredible; existence is incredible.
And yet, there is so much left out of the series. The images that exist and were available to me had the opportunity to be there –to be recorded. What is not present is reflective of photography’s limitations – we are not universally recorded, remembered, storied.

© Amy Friend, Oyster Sea

I should note the titles of individual pieces often reflect the notations written on the found photos but, if there are no notations, I title the photos to comment on possible interactions with the medium of photography itself. And finally, I lie about some titles, offering a fabricated name or place, which has frustrated some viewers of the work. I do this to instigate thought about what is important to know and understand about these “lost images”.
On one level, I aim to connect to the complex and rich language of the photographic medium.

On another level, I explore the vault of imagery flooding the world in a collected album of sorts.

© Amy Friend, Are We Stardust

What does a singular image found for sale on ebay or in a market mean? These images are sentimental, they are a star (there but gone), they are a fossil, a relic, a passageway, a novel, a sign, a mystery… a thread… they are us and not us at all.

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