family snaps

fort hall 001

family snaps are a vehicle for the image to access our homes and lives and muscle in on the discourse of collective memory through their bogus claim to being evidence. the image is an empty husk of life entangled and animated by us, cleaving as we do to its distorted reflection in summoning up aspects of our past around which our identities and family myths precipitate. the image is a lure through which to forge a certain concept of ourselves, the photograph a compromised storage/retrieval system delivering an instant in time. the full (impossible to achieve) context is excluded. this frozen moment has its own metabolism as it fades or its style becomes dated which in turn seeps into memory framing it in a particular period. these photos emerged from a box of jumbled snaps with few surviving negatives or captions to locate them with any precision. corners are ripped off being removed from albums. the photographer, the surrounding events, the particular history of a moment when the image was seared into being is lost. the narrative is subject to further extemporasitions.  the images have survived the people that made them and superseded their recollections. the shutter clicks, the damage is done.

isiolo pool

the police rest house mombasa

my brother and i in fort hall

images scanned directly off some negatives for which there are no prints and digitally inverted to create the positive. a subset of discarded and recovered images, their diminished quality like imperfect recall or the inherent failure of the image.

isiolo and fort hall before my brother was born

the leisure spot of buffalo springs near isiolo in the arid NFD province of kenya. several pools dynamited by the british army in the 1940s for better bathing access. NFD as a lawless border region subjected to cattle rustling and raids by shifta. the ethnic somalians who predominate in the region become annexed to kenya in a colonial carve up of territory, half given to italy. history and homemade swimwear.

fort hall (murang’a) in kenya about 1957 with views across to mount kenya. appeasing the hungry lens with a toy windmill during the mau mau uprising, the most recent and persistent kikuyu resistance to colonial rule. fort hall named after francis hall, officer of the imperial british east africa company, who states the best way to improve the wakikuyu was to wipe them out.

mombasa 1963


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