Memories of all kinds, sentiments, and intensities often make great subjects and inspirations for creative projects. But, what about those details our memory fails to faithfully recreate and remind us of? How do we convey them? This is the idea — and the challenge — behind the beautiful and aptly titled Memory Lapses by Montreal-based photographer François Ollivier.
Memory is such a powerful catalyst of creativity, and we’ve featured a number of works that effectively demonstrate this. Julien Coquentin made an ode to his childhood with a beautiful memoir called Black Seasons, and retraced the footsteps of his younger self in The Dead Zone. Mauricio Candela likewise executed a simple yet masterful play on the simplicity of the childhood of past generations with his Nostalgia Project.
François, meanwhile, filled the gaps that were still mostly unexplored through Memory Lapses. In this set, he photographed temporary installations to reinterpret places that are often tied to memories, whether long past or recent. “By overexposing reflective material in the process, data becomes absent from the digital file, creating an empty zone in the image that alters reality and distorts our perception: like time and distance do,” he writes on the description.
The installations are translated in his images as intrusive lines that rudely interrupt any nostalgic musings from the viewer. The eyes are forcefully led to the “glitches” instead of the emotive beauty of the scenes. The effect also led me to towards a curious thought: with the “data” made absent from the digital image, does the “empty zone” take away parts of the memory captured? Or does it simply make the need to recall even more persuasive, significant, and affecting?
In the most compelling sense, Memory Lapses serve as a photographic reminder of the frailty of human memory, and how we ultimately cannot trust it. As François puts it, time and distance gnaw bits and pieces from each precious memory, much like these glitches brazenly alter each scene.
Do check out François Ollivier’s Behance portfolio to see more of his beautiful photography.