Revisiting The Visual Memoir Project: (Still) Searching for an Art of Memory

  • Blake E. Smith
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Movement across Education, the Arts and the Social Sciences book series (PSMAEASS)


Insights, new understandings, and lingering questions are offered from a photo-based dissertation attempting “visual life writing” as photographic memoir. Spanning several years of embodied creative ritual, I reflect via extended image and echoic prose about time passing, the nature of loss, and visual archives of the everyday. Rooted in a/r/tography, I walk us through my personal story of coming to research after years of teaching photography and making photographs. What unfolds is a series of thoughtful reflections on the artistry of data collection and the art, ethics, and learning possible (and problemic) around memory work. As visual memoirist, I experience first-hand how photo-based memory work offers an evocative yet ethically bound exercise in journeying, including promising methods for memoir (photowalking, rephotography, visual journals, and creative writing). With duration and artifact collecting in mind, much of the work is diptychs because the visual thinking is fragmented and multivariant. I introduce new concepts (psychoa/r/tography and dying inquiry) as challenging emergent aspects of this work, informed by the vulnerability of writing memoir from an emotional place. Come photowalk with me…


Visual life writing Ethics Photowalk Dying inquiry Psychoa/r/tography Memoir Journey 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blake E. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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