Nostalgia for the Unknown

Words: Fiona Christensen
Photographs: Fiona’s Lovely Family Album

As a photographer I am naturally drawn towards photos, especially prints lying around from back in the day. There is nothing better than spending a day curled up on the couch looking through old albums and boxes packed with photos of things I was present for and things that happened before me, but yet somehow I still feel like I experienced the moment.

That is the power for photography for me. Not the capturing of a moment necessarily but rather capturing a moment for others to feel like they too were there with you, in that moment. I attach my own memories to the pictures and through that, bring the world within them to life in my mind, even in images where all the people are strangers – in my mind, we are dear friends.

I look back at all the places my parents travelled too and friends they partied with and I feel like I was there too, tossing back a beer with my dad and chatting to my mom’s best friend about our weekend plans. I can almost hear the music playing and taste the meat from the braai and each photo brings me into these different worlds.

The nostalgia I get from looking at the photos is so real that I long to be back in these spaces, spaces I have never known or experienced, along with people I have never met. I time travel with each glance, laughing at jokes never heard and holding moments with people long passed. It’s magical really, strange and unsettling, but magical that I can connect to such a space.

It is in this that I find space an interesting concept, that it has no boundaries when captured or put down on paper. Even through literature and poetry one is transported to a space they haven’t been too yet the space is so tangible and real in our minds, it could be the room you are sitting in right now.

We create a whole space in our minds based around pictures we see, leading our minds further than the four borders of the photo and recreating the whole space around that captured frame. The space loses all limits in our mind and this is the beauty of it. The beauty of space within our imagination, and the way our minds can recollect and collate memories to make other spaces not yet visited.

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