• Rasha Kotaiche

Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance


"Forget Me Not is about expressions of memory in photographic portraits, which Batchen culls from a large and lively inventory of images and photographically embellished objects produced between 1840 and 1970. These are primarily ordinary people’s pictures, windows into ordinary photographic experience. The photographers and photocrafters here are largely unknown, leaving us undistracted by the whiff of genius or mundane details of a sitter’s life. Batchen wants us to focus on the lives of the images, aspects of photographic production and consumption that are held to be both typical and significant. The agents’ names may be lost, but their agency is intact; their desire to be photographed, their performances before the camera, and their uses of the resultant images are assumed by Batchen to be meaningful and potentially communicative, even if he, a stranger, cannot find the key."


Paying attention to the visuals being made:

To simply document anything is banal and will not trigger as much as specific details

Look at movements; hand movements, twitches, mannerisms of the person being filmed

How do they act in front of the camera?

  • Sometimes Dad puts on a show when he knows he's being filmed, he begins to show off or calls me over to film something he thinks is relevant

What do my parents want shown?

Lack of new visuals featuring mum; but she is shown through detailed clips of her actions: representative of what she does for us and how active she is within the family, as is head of the family and seen the most

Dad on the other hand, does a lot for the family but due to his quiet nature, he blends into the landscape. Using visuals to recognise him and place him into the foreground


Geoffrey Batchen is an art history lecturer and writer. His book Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance explores the emotional appeal of photographs. He examines a variety of images, describing and explaining the use of materials within the image, and the embellishments made outside the physical image.

Batchen’s description of the use of photography as a form of remembrance reflects my own creation with the purpose of capturing moments to visualise my memories, and have evidence of a memory I dread to forget. However, within discussions I have argued this as being an issue, as the more content being produced everyday simply on our phones, we may become very reliant on using images to recall memories when searching to remember.

This book developed a conversation about what an image can help you remember, as he talks about how a photograph may remind you of the person featured but not so much of their mannerisms. Which led me to finding that a moving image proved to capture more details of a person, place or moment due to the inclusion of movement and sound.

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