A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY
DIRECTOR: Rachel Elizabeth Seed | PRODUCER: Danielle Varga
In my photography and creative work, I am driven by the desire for connection. Perhaps this is because I was disconnected from my mother as a baby — I’m always seeking to reconcile this loss in my life. It’s this drive which has inspired me to make the feature documentary, A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY.
From 2004-2011 I created an audio-visual series about motherless women, interviewing and photographing 40 women and girls around the world, but it wasn’t until I turned the camera on my life in A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY that I began to make sense of my loss. As I just turned the age my mother was when she died, it is also a personally timely project. I hope for the result to be cathartic for myself and for an audience who relates to losing someone close or being estranged from a parent. At the same time, I aim to memorialize my mother’s legacy as a woman ahead of her time who contributed to the canon of photography history. She died in her prime but left an undeniable mark through her work and great compassion for humanity. This legacy would be forgotten without this film.
The film will play on the tensions between remembering and forgetting, recovery and loss, and the probing of relationship and portraiture through lost archives, juxtaposition and cinematic form, such as in Chris Marker’s LA JETEE, Jonathan Caouette’s TARNATION or Sarah Polley’s STORIES WE TELL. A nonlinear editing approach, weaving back and forth between her interviews and mine, allows for an imagined conversation; a posthumous collaboration between a mother and daughter who were never able to communicate in “real” life yet who now appear to converse. The medium of cinema becomes a time machine that is tantalizingly vivid. While at its core, the film is about regaining a lost mother-daughter connection, the personal story expands into universal themes as I recontextualize my mother’s photographer interviews, airing quandaries about time, memory, mortality and the passion to live a creative life.