Joy Christiansen Erb


I am interested in how memories can be based in both reality and fantasy. There are certain moments in my personal history that have been influential in the shaping of my identity. When those memories are from my childhood, I question their authenticity. Are the memories truly genuine? Could they be inspired by the imaginary play of a child? Were the memories conceived from viewing family photographs? Would my family recall the same events differently? Could these truths be stretched or exaggerated?

In the Remembered Series, I create reproductions of fragments of my memories from childhood. In the same way I question memory, I want the veracity of the visual image to be questioned as well. What is created is often a whimsical and playful image that falls somewhere between the lines of fantasy and daydream.

To construct these misleading moments, I photograph the visual images from my childhood using the more mature and developed psyche of an adult. I have chosen to use adults as actors in these private dramas to add to the sense of tension and awkwardness in the scene. This mix of perspectives of child and adult adds a subtle sense of damage to the images themselves. The viewer is left allured by the fantasy but troubled by the reality of the scene.

My personal experience, memory and identity aid in the creation of the Remembered Series, but the images themselves become universal. I chose to obscure space, time and the identity of my models to allow the viewer to enter into the image. The burden of truth and/or fiction then falls on the viewer to make the ultimate decision as to whether these images are real or imagined.

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