By Talia Moscovitz
From the age of 14, I have been an active witness to the sudden seizure and slow retreat of time as my mother experienced it; as her memories overlapped, I have retraced her life along with her. Time was a tide that both receded into the distance and flooded the present.
These photographs – digitally scanned color slides that had been abandoned for years in a flooded garage – are imprints of light and vision, filaments to be peeled off like fingerprint petals made by dipping your finger into molten candle wax. Working as a trail of crumbs through the forest of her past, they guide me as I look for answers to questions I never got a chance to ask. I follow her down the rabbit hole of her past self; what she saw, how she felt, how it felt to look at her then. I continue a journey I began long ago.
Details have been eroded but were also possibly not ever there. Subjects are universal: coupledom, vacation, visits with friends, young family. Compositions are loose and relaxed. Her photographs are like reading fleeting thoughts, fragments of an enchanted mirror that allow me to view her past through her eyes.
Did she remember these shutter-click moments through the deterioration and encroaching fuzz of time and dementia? Maybe they lasted more clearly than others in the same way I remember my own childhood as a game of connect-the-dots between the familiar, frozen moments held on ice in the family photo albums; past emotions scratch their way across perceptual memory, distorting and confusing the details. Maybe this was how she remembered herself. Proof of her youth and radiance, proof of travel and friendships. Perhaps the existence of these photos refilled her with self-assurance or allowed her to retell her own story.
In these photographs, time is a physical, chemical process of transformation that scrapes its residue across the surface. Thin layers coated with dye, now returned to their saturated brilliance – they are a fulfilled promise of chemical potential. Details that were once sharp and precise are now illusive, subliminal and painterly. They appear as if they have been recalled from the recesses of memory from behind closed eyes, recordings of the scorched, fading burns of visual memory. These photographs are alive in that they are dying.
Talia Moscovitz is a photographer and curator specializing in lens-based media practices. She is based in Atlanta, GA.