Remember the face of that neighbor who was like another grandparent back when you were in kindergarten? What did she look like? What about that person you had a crush on at summer camp in the 8th grade…the one with the broken nose? Memories are a tricky thing. As we grow older and make new ones, our minds begin to get fuzzy about details from the past, and the faces of family and friends we haven’t seen in a while begin to fade.
This is the basis of the photo project, “Fading Memories.” As a graduation project for her class at City of Bristol College, second-year photography student, Judit G. Cholnoky, articulates how memories fade over time. Using 35mm black and white film and what she calls an “uneven” darkroom development technique, Judit aims to represent this “fragmentation of memory.”
[REWIND: TIPS ON HOW TO PROPERLY METER FILM]
Living in the UK for the last five years with many miles separating her and her family and friends in Hungary, Judit began to notice that it was more and more difficult to remember the details of the faces of her loved ones. This prompted her to research studies about memory, and photographic projects relating to memory. She came upon the work of Timothy Pakron and his project “Silver Drips” featuring one-of-kind silver gelatin drip portraits. Inspired, Judit set out to create her own unique interpretation of memories fading using a similar technique.
It is the faces of her family and friends in Hungary photographed for this project. Then, instead of developing the film traditionally by immersing the sheets in the tray, Judit handpainted each 16×20 gelatin silver print with the developer, thus painting a picture (literally) of what our minds do to the fading memories of those we hold dear.