Recreate a childhood memory in a photograph. Think carefully about the memory you choose and how you’ll recreate it. (OCA C&N, p82).
Image shows me as-is and as-was. The distance between the two subjects connotes the distance between time. They are standing as mirror images, reflections of one another across time. The only constant is the skateboard (there is only one), a memento that has travelled across time to link the as-was with the as-is.
My intention was to recreate my childhood memory of skateboarding, which was an obsession for me as a pre-teen. I still have my skateboard, which is at least 35 years old. I asked my younger son to model for me – ask he cannot ride, I shot some images of him performing maintenance work, holding the board and placing one foot on it while keeping the other firmly on the ground. Maintenance has a vivid space in my memory – greasing bearings and getting my childhood machine to run in tip-top condition.
To recreate the feel of the 1970s/80s I planned to post-process using an analogue effect (Nik).
My idea changed course during post-processing. Wrapping up the shoot, I asked my son if he’d like to take a few pictures (with the camera strap placed carefully around his neck) – more for his entertainment than anything else. The idea came of combining a photo of each of us into one image, both holding the same skateboard – myself-as-is and myself-as-was. There is some distance between the two subjects in the final image (as some friends have noted) – in reality because they are separate images, but metaphorically due to the distance in time between as-is and as-was. I may not have thought of using an image taken by my son had I not just read about the work of Nikki Lee! Sometimes good things happen from accidents, but accidents can’t be planned!
Some of the comments I received when posting the image to friends and fellow students, asking what it made them think about:
KN – Father and son bond and inner child
SW – If you hadn’t said self-portrait, I’d have wondered what the relationship was between the two. The distance between them seems quite large and uncomfortable for it to be father and son.
KN – Very true SW and a very good point, yet their stance is almost a mirror image of each other so i guess they spend quite some time together.
CW – An album cover, or a single cover. Ramones?
LL – that an injury may occur!
GN – Why don’t you go longboard?
PB – Midlife crisis on a budget.
The final image is featured at the head of this post. The images used to make the composite are attached below.