"Tokens" is a series of accordion-style newsprint pamphlets depicting found family imagery, alongside excerpts from photographic essays and interviews. My mother was a hobbyist and took the majority of these images. They may have up until now existed as tokens of the past, but they are more than just relics. A reviewing of my family photos allows a new understanding of my personal history, one that is more aware to the information found in everyday snaps.

There is great analysis made while looking at found family imagery, mostly regarding the motive behind it and its origins. As my personal family collection expands, some images I came across looked similar to my own, in aspects of composition and subject matter. These photographs have become objects that I possess with great admiration and have led me to construct an account of my own, playing the role of both a spectator, in the process of viewing and studying the found images, and presenter, by incorporating my own writing and reactions.

Thousands of these vernacular images were stored and never thrown away over the years, an occurrence found in many family narratives. The held-onto obscurity of such everyday photographs speaks to the importance of the ongoing function of photography within the domestic landscape. The concepts appearing in these photographs have become a deep part of the standards of the family album. When revisited and further reviewed, specific details once overlooked are able to come into view; the birth of a later dissolved relationship, or a rare smile of a rather expressionless loved one. By removing these conventional snapshots from the archive, I recreate new visualizations of forgotten memories and disrupt carefully curated moments of happiness to air otherwise untold moments of familial tragedy.

"Unlike any ordinary family album, this isn’t exclusively addressed to the family it portrays, but also to the anonymous spectators who give it its status as a work of art.”  

Henri Peretz

“The true portrait emphasizes neither the suave nor the grotesque, but reflects personality.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Photographs can be treated on their own terms – as documents, as aesthetic creations or as someone else’s story.”

Patricia Holland, “Personal Photographs and Popular Photography"

“Most of the photographs were made by or for people in the ordinary course of their lives. They were intended to be family keepsakes, not objective documents. They showed what people where proud of, thought interesting, and what they wanted to show others.” 

George Talbot , “At Home: Domestic Life in the Post-Centennial Era 1876 – 1920”

"All things were recorded, even if they had not been noticed by the camera operator at the time of exposure."

Jerry L. Thompson, Truth and Photography

"The photographic referent is not the optionally real thing to which an image or a sign refers to but the necessarily real thing which has been placed in front of the lens, without which there would be no photograph."

Roland Barthes

“On the one hand, the photograph displayed images of hitherto unknown and remarkable places and people.”

Patricia Holland, “Personal Photographs and Popular Photography"

"The photograph starts from an image already whole. The photographer invents nothing; everything is there and visible from the start.” 

Minor White

Using Format