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Deborah Orloff

SPE Member since 1992
Member Chapter: Midwest

Elusive Memory

Elusive Memory

Do you really remember your past, or have you simply seen the photographs so many times, you believe you retain those memories? The relationship between photography and memory is complicated; it is dubious at best. I have always been fascinated with family photos and have collected them most of my life. Recently, I've been drawn to the abandoned pictures that were relegated to my parents' basement. These once precious objects have been neglected and forgotten. Inadvertently exposed to water, heat, and humidity, they have undergone a powerful transformation. My new work utilizes these severely damaged pictures as subject matter. Elusive Memory explores the significance of vernacular photographs as aesthetic objects and cultural artifacts. The resulting large-scale photographs make commonplace objects monumental and emphasize their unique details. In their final representation, these banal objects become simulacra of loss and speak eloquently to the ephemeral nature of memory.

Mar 65

Lost in Thought

Honeymoon Portrait

Extended Pause

On the Road


The Pencil

Finally Engaged

Anonymous Groom

Madonna and Child

Jay as a Boy

Thwarted Gaze


Lost Bridesmaid

Engagement Party

'53 Pontiac

Baby Portrait

Seventh Month

Writing Home

Three Graces


Two Months


Guarded Smile

Damaged Negative

Damaged Negatives 3

My Favorite Dress


Threads (detail)

Threads (detail)

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