'The Forgotten Image' - 3rd Exhibition

Previously I wrote a blog post on the importance of collaboration in Art, in which I introduced my collaboration with the South West Image Bank on the project ‘The Forgotten Image’. I am proud to announce on this blog post the exhibition is currently up in Plymouth again, held in perhaps an unconventional setting for art work, at Bond Dickinson’s law offices in Plymouth. As the exhibition is being displayed again, I have written a short piece about the project…

There is a unique quality to photographs, that whilst being a direct copy of the world, they are also open to numerous interpretations and readings. Which I think becomes heightened with archival material, removed from its original context and placed in the archive.

During my degree, as part of a collaboration module, I worked with material from the South West Image Bank on a project that became ‘The Forgotten Image’.  In this project, I developed an interest in damaged images and their dismissal within archival practice. Furthermore research into a collection of photographs from the Image Bank, named the John Boulden collection, led me to discover an unsettling narrative, to portraits over 100 years old.

 Photograph from the John Boulden Collection at the South West Image Bank

Photograph from the John Boulden Collection at the South West Image Bank


Viewing these photographs, their history and context is still something very real and current, which requires reflection today. In the act of looking at photographs, particularly those from the archive, history very much becomes part of the present through our vision.

Michel de Certeau suggests that vision is a journey, and that through looking we travel to that space, which I feel is the power and importance of archival photographs. By looking at the haunting portraits from the John Boulden collection, we are pulled into that moment and it becomes a very emotive experience as we reflect on the person in front of us and their life.

The archive is interesting to me as an artist, as well as many others, for lots of reasons. One of which is the mass digitising of today’s physical archives, and a question of the effect of this on the mnemonic photographic object. Consequently I am fascinated in working with archival material and bringing them into a contemporary context, for a contemporary audience such as yourselves. 


Information: Exhibition at Ballard House

Please feel free to visit the exhibition 'The Forgotten Image' from Photographer, Artist and Curator/Researcher Emily Barrett. Emily graduated with a BA(Hons) Photography at Plymouth University in September 2016.

'The Forgotten Image' exposes photographs from the South West Image Banks' collection, challenging the idea of perfection within photographic practice. Revealing objects from the past in contemporary environments, it reveals hidden narratives and breathes new life into photographs, in some cases over 100 years old.


Bond Dickinson LLP

Ballard House

West Hoe Road