Accepted Paper:

Remembering, Forgetting, Discovering: Dialectics of Memory and Photography in Conversation  
Carla De Utra Mendes (Urban Photographers' Association)Victor Seidler (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

Our dialogical method addresses the work of the Urban Photographers' Association, a process in which we will disassemble and reassemble some of the taken for granted concepts of both photography and memory and, ultimately, of urban memory.

Paper long abstract:

Is photography an 'ars memoriae'? And, if so, is it a material registration of memory or, on the contrary, the immateriality of something once concrete, as memories often seem to be? At the end of the day, memory is an in-between, 'a dialectic of remembering and forgetting' (Halbwachs in Crimson, 2005, p. xiv). Urban memory is also often between what exists as archive in the form of 'history' or what has disappeared as a form of 'amnesia' (thinking of Crimson's 2005 title). However, it is rarely in what can be rediscovered and rethought as a form of agential questioning, or what Crimson states as the 'ability or faculty by which we recollect the past' (Crimson, 2005, p.xii). This process transforms cities from mere repositories or palimpsests into creative resource pools and urban photographers into mediators between selves and city. Exploring the work of the Urban Photographers Association, through their different collaborations and individual practices allows us to perceive the ways in which memories are evoked and invisible or immaterial dynamics are brought, as photography, into light and made visible. Our method is thus a discovery, rethinking what connects photography to memory as art forms.


Crimson, M. (2005) (ed). Urban Memory. History and Amnesia in the Modern City. London, UK, New York, NY: Routledge.

Panel P077
Urban Memories: Mobility, Materiality and Photographic Practice