Hour of Lead (2008-2010)

In 1999, when I was eleven years old, my father died after a two-year battle with cancer. Among the things he left behind were hundreds of unmarked 35 mm color Kodachrome slides. The series, “Hour of Lead”, is a dialogue I have created between my own silver gelatin photographs and his color slides. Of my father’s photographs, I chose the images that communicated to me the strongest sense of loss and reminiscence.

I have very little memory of my father from my own experiences, but I have been able to assemble an idea of him through other people’s stories and reflections. Using the little artifacts that he has left behind—his writings, letters, music and these slides—I am able to create my own memories and ideas of who he was, even though many of the slides were taken before I was born. While the slides have an immortalizing quality, they also invoke for me an aesthetic of longing and melancholia.

Through photography, I am allowed insight into his world, and he can still be a part of my own. The photographs in “Hour of Lead” are organized to create a narrative engaging nostalgia and grief by pairing his slides with my own photographs. These photographs attempt to display the effect of losing him. Together these images depict both his presence and absence simultaneously.