What Becomes of the Little Ghosts in Faded Memories?

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I found some lost photographs taken by my father. After I saw these images, I started remembering old times, and old friends. Although, I did not remember everyone. So I decided to draw over those I do not remember very well, while those I remember very well remained photography. The less detail a person has, the less I remember that person.

— Alberto Achega Leitão

At just 21 years of age, this Portuguese artist elegantly captures the slippery nature of photo-freeze-drying memories: even the most painstaking documentarians among us forget things. We leak memories. Photo albums notwithstanding, people change, families move, stuff happens. Our grasp of the past becomes less secure until, bit by bit, without us knowing it, pieces wink out of existence.

There’s probably an argument here in favor of historians, and archivists, and professional photo organizers, and certainly for diligently tagging your photos. And this is a great argument, and we make it daily  — if not for yourself, then for the interested parties who come after you.

Leitão’s ghostly Faded Memories project is the silent “otherwise…” that hangs above it all: a simple meditation on impermanence, a quiet reflection on the natural progression of things. In this photo series, he drew over people in photos he didn’t remember very well. The frequency and proximity of these people suggest how easy it is to forget those people who were once just a snapshot away.

So tag, tag, against the dying of the light, and carpe diem everyone.

From Alberto Achega Leitão's Faded Memories project.
First Memory.