Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program



Timothy Davis

Abstract/Artist's Statement

I lost my father when I was twelve years old. In April of 2001, he was diagnosed with leukemia. After undergoing treatment he died in October of the same year. Nine years later, my childhood has drawn to a close and the memories I have of him are fading with age. I took on this project as an opportunity to explore the depths and shallows of memory through photography, attempting to construct an image of a person vanishing into the distance of the past.

My aim was to come to a mature understanding of who my father really was, including all the flaws that made him human. To do so I explore both the physical and emotional remnants of his life, the story found among the remains. This project was a way for me to spend more time with my dad. Beyond personal motivations lay artistic ones. I have always been interested in the complex relationship between photography and memory – both in the medium’s ability to recall memory as well as in its failure to hold emotional truth. Photography has a unique capacity to render and preserve a moment in time, which makes the medium an often-used tool in reinforcing fading memory. However, this project has also brought to light photography’s limitations in describing absence. It was these constraints that led me to explore the presentation of memory through other forms of expression – video, drawings, bookmaking, film still appropriations. I took on the aesthetic challenge of creating a body of work about an absence, images about someone no longer visible.

Though the project began as an exploration of a man ten years dead, it has become, just as much, a project of self-reflection, an exploration of a woman twenty-one years alive. By revisiting the memory of what has been, I am ready to face what will be.

**Please note: While no online version of this project is available, there is a printed book for this project that is available at Stevenson Library. You can ask at the reference desk for access.

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