For this commission I wanted to use the images and life stories gathered as part of the project as my starting point. As an Iranian I carry a lot of memories from my homeland
and I really understand the value of personal photographs and their associated memories. I have been carrying family photographs with me all my life and are hugely significant to me. As part of this I am continually intrigued by photographs that have a physical presence in the world that are treasured, fragile and timebound. Their materiality translates the abstract and representational ‘photography’ into special objects that kept and stored for specific reasons.
Working as a resident artist and photographer at Caldmore Community Gardens in Walsall (known locally as Karma Gardens) I developed a series of hand-
on workshops for a group of 10 participants exploring practical photography and considering its changing role in our lives. The photography workshops were a gateway to access and connect with the local community at Karma Gardens.
As my project developed I was clear that I wanted to engage participants in image making and finding ways for them to share their own stories. This kind of process is often very emotional and can potentially be very therapeutic as people revisit important memories and places from their lives.
For my creative project participants shared their own family photographs and stories that were important or meaningful to them. I wanted to use this as source for my work that emphasised their physical presence and the fragility of memory. As part of this I explored printed onto leaves as part of a process called Chlorophyll Printing – this involved placing a negative of a photo on the leaf which is then exposed to sunlight over a couple of weeks. The pigments of the plant darken which results in a wonderful ghostly portrait.
As the project was developed in winter with very little sunlight, I decided to use liquid light to print on leaves.
The resulting work is a series of handmade prints on locally sourced leaves that I collected throughout the autumn and winter. Leaves are a symbol of growth but at the same time fragile and perishable like our memories.