photographic curiosities from the life of:

aimee brasseur

There is a dramatic difference, quite literally at times, between taking a photograph and making a photograph.

In 2001, I made my first composite photograph — certainly not my best work but the exercise was not without merit. It was through this first composite project that I developed my interest in documenting the impossible, as well as my desire to play with the concept of time and how it interacts with memory. Nearly a decade would pass between that first composite image and the next time I would come into contact with an SLR camera but my imagination would attach itself to these same themes as if no time had passed at all.

Two-parts storytelling, one-part catharsis, each image is an allegorical representation of a page in my personal history — my self-authored mythology. In short, these are stories from my life, retold the way I choose to remember them. But most interesting to me are the interpretations presented by each viewer who, without necessarily being cognizant of it, uses her or his own experiences to decipher the symbols hidden within. As a result, the work ceases to be about me as these interpretations allow each image to breathe a life independent of the original story — important for any mythology.

Composite work is similar to painting in its process and the time involved. A final composite image can take over 40 hours to bring it to fruition, typically contains as few as ten photos and often includes a significant amount of information that is neither visible to the lens, nor possible. Elements like lighting, shadows, subtle reflections, and even parts of the wall and flooring are created from scraps of other images or by way of digitally painting them into the scene. Because I rely entirely upon self-portraiture, I will shoot 300 or more images in a sitting to ensure the figure is perfectly composed.

I work a great deal with intangible themes — memory, time, emotion — and for a variety of reasons I often create these tableaux within spaces relatable to the viewer. While the majority of my work consists of two-dimensional composite images — I find my imagination spinning its gears on more three-dimensional applications of my photographic work. Currently, I am exploring several alternative processes and experimenting with different ways in which to apply them to projects incorporating sculptural elements or as part of an installation. As I venture further, I find myself considering processes that would allow me to include the collective memories of the audience into my work and continue to challenge myself on what it means to capture and visually display our memories.