What’s your first memory?

January 14, 2011

First Memory

Everyone’s got one. Mine was standing in a cot looking out into the room which would later become my room. It was dark, except it wasn’t dark outside. I had a feeling of someone’s imminent arrival to lift me out. It was quiet. I knew how to get out, but I was too small to try. So I waited. It seemed to be in this period of anxious waiting that a snapshot formed that would become my first memory.

The intergenerational group I’m working with at Draíocht have decided that this will be the theme of their exhibition. First memories flooded forth covering funerals, accidents, strong women, frightening stories, hospitals, birth’s, wakes and first achievements. Each participant has made their own 35mm pinhole camera and will re-create a scene that will be reminiscent of their own memory. Some of the photographs will be taken from the perspective of the child that had the memory, some will photograph the thing that symbolizes the memory.

Memory and Photography. One could write a book and many have. Most people had only a single snapshot in their memory that constituted their first memory. Black and white photography, and black and white pinhole photography seems a very apt aesthetic to apply to this idea, the fuzziness of the image somewhat aligning with the fuzziness of our own memories. An older member of the group had her first memory being on stage. The snapshot was of her mother, waiting in the wings, for her to finish her part. Her feeling was one of being overwhelmed, nervous and anxious to be with her mother again.

The show will be exhibited in April at Draíocht.

What’s your first memory? Comment below.


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