Thursday 2 November 2017

Pictures of the Past

I get to talk about history a lot. One of my favourite moments is when people show their emotions about the past. So many of us care about a period or a moment and that passion comes out in conversation. Because I’ve been working on theory (again) I want to talk about this at a vast and deep cultural level. It’s not vast and deep that brings out that passion, however. 

This month you get a few scenes from my photo collection, and I’ll tell you just a little about why I took the picture. I’ll share joy instead of theory. And if any of you want to share things you love about history (places, people, periods) I’d love to hear about it in the comments. This is a difficult year for many of us, and happiness is worth sharing.
Near Melbourne, 1976. Photograph: Gillian Polack

Hopetoun, Vic. 1977, Photograph: Gillian Polack

At Versailles, 1986. Photograph: Gillian Polack

Ueno, Japan, 1986. Photograph: Gillian Polack

Peterborough, 1986 Photograph: Gillian Polack

The first picture is friends discovering the town of Emerald and the Puffing Billy train. My friends were new to Melbourne and this was the day they looked at each other and said "Yes, we all belong."

The second is a school excursion to the Mallee in Victoria in my teens. This is when I realised how powerful photographs were for memory.

My visit to Versailles was when I was doing work for a doctorate. I wondered if there was a way of  taking the pcitures so that you couldn't see anything modern in them. This was that experiment. The Ueno picture is from earlier that year when I was on my way to England and France to Sydney, just to give you a picture of the young photographer.

For the last picture, we've gone forward again. My first cloister garden. Since then I've taken thousands of pictures of medieval buildings. With each one I understand the Middle Ages just a little more.

And I'm sorry for the delay in getting the comments up - I was unexpectedly in Exeter.

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