I Was There

Susan Sontag described a photograph as ‘an experience captured’.  In I Was There the evidence of experience takes the form of an intervention or mark into public space. These residues suggest significance, locate a particular point in time and articulate a personal history or histories. They stand as monuments to past events but unable to provide a comprehensive account, they simply act as indicators – an elusive record – for those who see them.

More definitive is the record of the photograph – which tells the viewer that “I (the photographer) was there and this is what I saw”. By displacing these markers or monuments beyond their geographical site, the photograph, however, articulates a distinct experience (that of the photographer), establishes the potential for further narratives and relocates the originating event in time and place. The viewer, in turn, is drawn into, and contributes to, this process of transformation by adding yet another layer of experience, time and place.

I Was There is not an ‘experience captured’. It is rather a perpetual reinvention and relocation of an original – but unknown – set of circumstances self-consciously etched in place, and left as the physical traces of social activity.

All Images © Copyright Virginia Woods-Jack 2020

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