Accepted paper:

Performing loss and longing through album photographs in my bereaved family, an auto ethnographic case study


Evangelia Katsaiti (Nottingham Trent University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will consider the use of photography as a ‘featherweight portable museum’ (Sontag 1977) by my family, in order to mediate loss and thus adjust and cope with bereavement. The photographic work ‘Dedicated to’ is a photographic art project that consists of 5 sequences of photographic narratives visually relating my devastating emotions from five losses of loved ones. While speaking my story of loss of my father I will aim to make gender politics visible and narrate my process of renegotiation through my art photography of the language that inscribes my memory. The point of this analysis is to disseminate through the lens of personal experience any possible links between culture and self.

Paper long abstract:

My home town, Perama , is a city that evolves around the industry of traveling and transport in which the family album is often used significantly to remember and communicate the past as well as define an emotional space signifying stability. The photographic narratives I have assembled into art photography assisted me to articulate and express visually my grief for the death of my father. I will decode visual language rituals involving stereotype family photographs used to externalize feelings of intimacy, and thus assert the connection of the expression of the personal with the political. Walkerdine clarifies of how self-disclosure in auto ethnography is intended to be a way of understanding subjectivity, and that is when "the confessional becomes reactionary". (Walkerdine 1997). Self-directed art photography mediated the reconstruction of the preferred stories sought by me, and thus affected the emotional and cultural landscape of grieving within my family, from which I have been reciprocally influenced. The language of the family photograph as an artefact seriously infested what I choose to remember or forget as well what I chose to be through what I remember. My art photography as a research tool challenged the language that inscribes my memory allowing me through the renegotiating of my relationship with the power struggles intermitted to photography to redefine myself through new enabling identities.

panel V06
Photography as a research method