Anna Stevenson BFA Photography Thesis Spring 2018
My thesis project, Temporary Forgetting, is an 8 × 10 inch handmade book of altered film images of nature. By soaking 35mm color film in various acidic liquids I was able to achieve various unexpected colors and textures that could transform seemingly ordinary images of the land into distorted, alternative realities. Studying the characteristics of traditional landscape photography, I chose to play off of certain genres and interpret them in my own way. By including both picturesque and sublime images, as well as a few somewhere in between, I was able to work within the language of landscape photography in a way that aligns with other contemporary photographers. This work explores my attempt to make landscape more personal and interesting. Using alternative analog methods rather than digital allowed for more serendipitous results and added an extra, autobiographical layer to my work. This led me to leave a majority of the process up to chance, since I could not see what was happening to the images during the soaking process. I approached the locations I photographed in a way that expressed my personal experience of them. My method of alteration enabled me to create new, subjective facets of meaning depending on what I decided to soak the film in. Another important aspect of this work is its relationship with memory. Images in the book all work within the familiar, the idea of the landscape, but my distortions are toying with the viewer’s memory of how the land usually looks in a photograph. David Bate mentioned something called temporary forgetting, which is what happens in our mind while we aren’t remembering things. He also noted that what we do remember are only partial truths. The images in this book, while reminiscent of specific places, objects, or experiences, are only fragments of the real thing that are even further modified and recontextualized through my alterations.