Past & Present

Fall 2021

“Cliché and sublimity, sameness and difference, truth and fiction, public and private, infinity and zero.” – Geoffrey Batchen

When looking back at my childhood photos, I am always struck by the fact that the majority of my photos of me are with my sister. Spending our childhood years homeschooled together, we often appeared joined at the hip. Attending the same classes, roaming the same park, and being subjected to the same little black film camera my mom carried. In the photos, we seem to be close sisters who shared everything. “Fiction.” When, although we shared the same space, we grew up disconnected. “Truth.”

As the years have passed and the physical distance between us has increased, we have grown ever more connected. The sameness in the photos is the scene: my childhood bathroom and the park near my house. However, in the recreation of the images, an element was missing. My sister. Her absence is something I wanted to highlight in the photos. In the park, she no longer stands next

to me holding her own pile of leaves but, instead, I stand alone. Dropping my own handful of leaves onto the forest floor. In the bathroom I lay alone in the tub. No longer is there room in the tub for both of us. I barely fit myself, my legs propped on the wall so that I can

lay down. I have outgrown this space; my body no longer fits in it.

These photos make me nostalgic for a feeling that never really existed, a fiction that is only lived out through photographs.

© Nora Murphy 2024