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Archive ideas

The C&N course material instructed me to ‘look online at the Zoe Leonard and Cheryl Dunye series The Fae Richards Photo Archive … The purpose of this fictional archive is to question the truthfulness of the archive and how history is recorded.’

Source: archivesandcreativepractice.com
Source: archivesandcreativepractice.com

Julia Bryan-Wilson’s article provides more information about the work. The photographs form part of a ‘queer archive’ – referencing two groups that have not been well documented in official archives; gay and black. They are a staged reconstruction of the life of the fictional character, Fae Richards, and were used as part of the plot in the film The Watermelon Woman. Dunye explains that she could not find sufficient material in official archives for the purpose of the film, so decided to create a fictional archive.

I’ve recently been reflecting on the archives to which I have ready access:

  • Pre-digital photographs of my own history – from childhood, travelling, marriage.
  • Digital photographs of my own history, accumulated on my computer hard-drive
  • My mother’s collection of old family photographs from her childhood and youth. And any stories she can recall of the people in the photos.

The latter photos have been on my mind – I envisage a project with my mother to digitise them and share them while the memories still remain and in case anything should happen to the only copies of these old images.

At the same time, I’m mindful of the time required to work with these old images; time that would be taken away from my current practice. I perhaps need to enlist the help of my family in the archiving process. To ensure that current work forms an effective archive, and saves time later, I need to have more discipline in my work flow.


Archives and creative practice [website]. Available from: http://www.archivesandcreativepractice.com/zoe-leonard-cheryl-dunye/  [accessed 18.5.16]

Bryan-Wilson J & Dunye  C (2013). Imaginary Archives: A Dialogue, Art Journal, 72:2. Available from: http://arthistory.berkeley.edu/pdfs/faculty%20publications/Bryan-Wilson/jbwdunye.pdf [accessed 18.5.16]

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