Sunday, May 16, 2010

Harvey Benge - Against Forgetting

Harvey Benge
Against Forgetting - Limited edition book, 2010

Harvey Benge just sent me his newest book and it is, in my opinion, his strongest yet.

I have said time and again that I am most moved by a body of work (written, photographed, filmed, recorded, etc) in which the author addresses the thing they know best (him/herself) and comment on something broader which affects me as well. I was lucky enough years ago to spend a weekend with Bernard Plossu, an inspiration then and now, and he told me that every photographer will someday make a work about the place they are from. This is Harvey's confrontation with the Aukland suburb of Mt. Roskill in his home country New Zealand.

Against Forgetting is a mixture of found images, probably from his family's photo albums, and still-lives and portraits of the people and places which seem to haunt most of us who grew up in the sprawling outskirts of mid-sized post WW 2 communities. I am sure this work hits close to home for me as I see bits of myself and my own childhood outside of Phoenix. The Bible Belt spans a wide girth...

Now, after more years than I care to think about I've gone back to look at my past. Where I grew up. So much has changed. Other things, very little. Here are some photographs. Against Forgetting.

Harvey Benge, Auckland, April 2010

It's my own personal battle at the moment, trying to organize the thousands of digital snapshots which I have collected in the last 6 years of my two little girls, which makes me feel a bit overwhelmed about photography's assumed role as a sparker of memory. The spreads in this book of close-up images from contact sheets and family photo albums, as beautiful as they are, make me uncomfortable knowing that my kids may not inherit a shoe box full of snapshots, but instead a safe full of hard-drives.

Again, this book is limited to 100 signed copies and they are published by FAQ editions in Auckland.

At 32 pages, and as many color photos, this one is a bit thinner than Harvey's last one, but as my stack of hard-drives gets taller and heavier, I am convinced that bigger is certainly not better.

Thanks Harvey, for the reminder to shoot some film today!

1 comment:

  1. A very good point about the role of printed photographs as primary source for memory, and about the challenge posed by digital photography in that perspective.
    Edit as you photograph, and make a point of making prints (which will very likely end up in a shoe box), that has been my approach...