I was encouraged to look at the work of Nicky Bird, which she generously shares on her own website. Her website explains that her work:
investigates the contemporary relevance of found photographs, and hidden histories of specific sites, investigating how they remain resonant. She has explored this through photography, bookworks, the Internet and New Media. In varying ways she incorporates new photography with oral histories, genealogy, and collaborations with people who have a significant connection to the original site, archive or artefact,
I spent some time looking at Bird’s project, Beneath the surface / hidden place, and the video interviews explaining the work. The work was made in close collaboration with owners of old family snapshots, which were subsequently juxtaposed on images of the same locations in the present day. This struck me as a variation on rephotography (explored here) – not showing the difference between then and now, but the then set within the context of now. For Bird, a significant part of the work seems to be the engagement of the community with the past and the change that has brought the present.
Bird’s photos themselves are straight and banal, with the visual interest dependent on the concept of combining the present with the past in a transparent collage. They are the exploration of a concept through photography and, from the video, it sounds that photographer and her collaborators had fun in their making.
Nicky BIrd [website]. Available from: http://nickybird.com [accessed 14.12.15]