40x60cm, inkjet on Hahnemühle Baryta, wooden frames
When my mother died some years ago, I inherited all the family photos. Albums year by year as well as boxes full of unsorted photos. I love to look through the chaos in those boxes, corresponding to the layering and mixing of memories and narratives.
There are many prints in those boxes, but there are no negatives. The negatives of the older family photos had been thrown long before, and from recent images, there have never been any negatives, only files.
I am interested in the notion of the negative as a potential. A negative is the starting point for the positive, a possibility. It has to be interpreted, you can make very different prints from the same negative. On a visual level, a negative is an abstract image. It is „unreadable“, you can’t recognize a person, but you may see their essence in an even more precise way.
So I digitally (re)created those missing negatives. Plus, I combined them with other images of another family member in a similar situation.
exhibition view at Wiesbadener Fototage (photos: Peggy Stahnke)
see also the videos related to this series: