Memory // Safia Delta
“Photography has to have meaning. Though I don’t know what meaning when I press the shutter. It has to sound right. To be desire-driven. I now live in the south of France, but most of the time I live in my own world, sometimes I think it’s a problem, most of the time I cope with it. Photography like dancing is an intermediary space in between working time and personal life. It has meditative qualities. It’s a threshhold in my life that both marks a seperation and opens up on a different world. That is neither imaginary, nor real.
My relationship to photography and my tastes are constantly evolving. I used to shoot digital, now I’m mostly analog both 35mm and 120mm. Always colour though. I used to shoot a lot and in particular what is called street photography. I could dedicate whole afternoons to walking in the street and watching people live, laugh, get bored, share, kiss, quarrel, eat or drink in bars and restaurants. But that felt wrong. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t life. It was staying at the surface of appearances and that wasn’t what I wanted for me, not as a photographer but as a person.
Though my pictures are meanly taken in the streets, I am not a street photographer. My pictures document my relationship to time and space, and explore my own feelings. If I don’t experience something I don’t take a picture, it’s a process that comes from the inside, not from a cold and impersonal observation of the world anymore.
I also work on specific projects like the one on French territory I’ve approached by traveling along forsaken roads or solitude but these are long term projects I need time to develop.”
“Memory is a puzzle that uses space to explore time and remembrances. It’s an interrogation.
What do we remember of a place ? What will stay of a moment ? How do we remember a place we’ve been living in for a certain number of years?
I was still living in the suburbs of Paris when I started the work and I was considering leaving the region.
After spending 8 years there, I wondered what would be left of that part of my life and I wanted to record tiny things that caught my attention and made me feel the place I used to live in.
Shooting film was a way to go back to the primary function of photography : shooting to remember, to keep track of time, of small moments. Being a colour lover, I was seeking a medium that has organic qualities, specific, nostalgic tones and I also sought a meaningful tool. Film photography has that. Like seconds, hours and days, once taken a picture cannot be undone. I like that dramatic aspect because it reminds me of the irreversible nature of life.
Memory has the mystery of an attraction I don’t want to account for. Silence preserves the beauty of a picture and that series is also an easthetics quest. In each series of off moments I record I try to find my own definition of beauty. In French, we have a word for that, it’s called ‘le beau’.
I am gathering these pictures on my website like a diary. Each file is numbered according to the month of the year the set refers to. I record my life and aspects of our time in order to remember later. In order to dissipate that feeling of meaninglessness.”
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