Current Work: We Shared A Year / by Adam Mathieu

“We Shared A Year” is a photographic series in which I appropriate imagery from both family photos and public photographs from the same year, starting with my birth in 1994.

The family photograph is typically a tight crop on what I find to be the punctum of the image. The found public images depict a single large-scale event that occurred in the same year as my family photograph and call on the collective memory of the audience. This combination of imagery results in a micro vs macro effect for the viewer. The family image serves as my recollection for that year of my own life, whereas the public images represent the experiences of a large sum of people in that year.

Each year the number of public images increases to reflect my age at the time. The images are then merged with a series of crops and overlays to further address the public memory being a collective experience.

1999 (5 Layers of Columbine High School)

1999 (5 Layers of Columbine High School)

I first toyed around with this idea almost 4 years ago while I was still attending USF. We had an appropriation project, and this was one of my initial ideas for how to tackle the assignment. In the end, I abandoned this idea and it has gathered dust ever since. Recently, I’ve noticed a return of my anxiety over death and the progression of time and so I thought a way to cope with that would be to revisit this project.

I am typically unsure of how to maneuver in the field of appropriation, but it is so foreign to my practice that it feels refreshing. I am allowed to become more a researcher and archivist than creator. It is also exciting to know that with the passing of each year I will be tasked to add another chapter in this series. With that I come full circle to realize that one day the series will end, and that the world and I will no longer share years. Instead, the world will move on without me just as it did before me. The footprints I created will eventually sand over and my time will be only what images survive to depict the past as a frozen snapshot in history.

2012 (18 Layers of Hurricane Sandy Aftermath)

2012 (18 Layers of Hurricane Sandy Aftermath)