WE ARE ALIVE AGAIN: play with light, slides, collage and cut outs

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Making stories with projected found slides, cutouts, collage and a cardboard box set. Part of WE ARE ALIVE AGAIN, an ongoing body of work using family photography as a starting point to explore stories and memories, both real and imagined.

Slides and a game of chance

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A while back, I made myself a game to play.
After chancing upon an slide projector in a charity shop, I started to collect old slides, asking for donations from friends, and buying any I came across in second hand shops, markets and online. I soon developed an addiction, spending hours in a darkened room, pressing click.
Around this time, a friend (thanks Ivan!) gave me a slide scanner and I accidentally discovered that you could put two slides in the tray at the same time, which gave a double image. After trying this a few times, I discovered some beautiful combinations. Many of the slides, which by themselves might be seen to be quite mundane – photographs of landscapes, family birthdays and holidays – developed a new life when combined randomly with another slide, and the two images together said something new. Sometimes this thing was funny, weird, or sad, often it was just an indefinable feeling of surprise and strangeness.
I developed a game and set myself some rules. I could pick six images from my (now huge) box of slides – no looking at them before I put them in the slide tray, or even seeing if they were the right way up. Often the combinations weren’t very interesting, or were too dark to be seen. – then I wouldn’t scan them, but just put them back into the box, and keep trying. But now and again, something magical happened, and a combined image would happen that made me stop breathing for a second. Then I would press ‘scan’.
I’ve been keeping and adding to these scanned images for months, not quite knowing what I wanted to do with them. This week, after getting a new batch of slides from The Shop, Nelson, a fantastic new creative shop space in Nelson, Lancashire – I started to play the game again.
Today, for some reason, feels like a good day to share these hybrid images – so here is a small selection. I’d love to know your thoughts.