What I see when I look over my shoulder.
The past is a place half recognizable, half not. My father became a more brilliant story-teller as he got older and his memory made gaps, which he was free to fill in as he wished. I hated it. I wanted facts, true history, documentary evidence. I'm older now. The past looks like a fairy tale, where dreams masquerade as memories, and history is another form of invention. There is documentary evidence in these pictures, but I can't see what is directly behind me. I can only glance sidelong, over each shoulder, with one eye and then another.
THE FIRST GROUP of 8 black and white photos, are from Another Country proper, a series I made between 2013 and 2014. The core images, interior and landscape, were shot between 2010 and 2012. After that I couldn’t go there anymore.
THE FOLLOWING SET, in color, include 6 from Can’t Get There From Here (2017). Five years after leaving I was less interested in memorializing a lost world and more in finding an imagery of emotions - struggle, seeking, discovery. The final two pictures, Shut Tight and Last Light, each use an interior shot from 1963 and another from my last visits in fall of 2012. The space between them contains all my time under that roof.
© Ariel Swartley