The Autobiographical Photogram

Ms. Pamela Salen - Post Graduate
2012 Conference

This paper is a critical and practical examination of autobiography framed within the home, where most of what matters in our lives is lived out, has remained largely unnoticed. And yet what actually transpires inside the home has a significant and reciprocal relationship into the formation of personal, social, and historical identity. This notion of framing memory in domestic space is the subject of photograms as a structural form in my practice and the focus of current investigation. The homes we inhabit are a sort of photogram. The interior and exterior are constantly subject to light and shadow, which expose and conceal surfaces. These natural conditions reflect the elusive process of transformation, ageing and perception. The unique capability of the photogram is its reliance on light to touch the surface of the paper. Of particular interest is how these images can then be reconstructed as three-dimensional artefacts that can be interacted with and viewed from various points of contact that redirect the narrative of memory as a physical occurrence. Implicit in its conception, the photograms are intimate and to be opened like book, touched, arranged, and exposed to a natural process of wear through use and age. Fundamentally they are a link between a sense of home and memory of actual space. This paper will address how making photograms of domestic spaces can contribute to the collective image of our personal stories.

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About the author

Pamela originates from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. She was the publications designer at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design from 2001-2010 and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the College as well as an associate degree in Visual Communication from the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. She is currently a PhD candidate in Visual Communications at Monash University, Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture and since 2010 has lectured in the Visual Communication program.

Pamela has exhibited in the United States and Australia. Her work focuses on the combination of photography and paper sculptures in order to explore the narrative links that bind space and autobiography together. She is currently focusing her doctoral research on the intimacies between domestic space, memory and light-sensitive paper.