Photographs from The Shoebox

Marles, Janet (2011) Photographs from The Shoebox. In: Freund, Alexander, and Thomson, Alistair, (eds.) Oral History and Photography. Studies in Oral History . Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY, USA, pp. 203-222.

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Audio-visual producer and filmmaker Janet Elizabeth Marles created a history of her mother's (and her own) search for family roots by constructing a website that can be explored in multiple directions and that reflects "the fragmentary nature of Heather's memory story." Heather was born in Australia and was 72 years old when she received a shoebox full of mementos from her childhood. This led her on a search through archives, cemeteries, and memorials around the world. Marles's essay and her website take us on Heather's "journey of discovery," demonstrating, along the way, the fragile and fragmentary nature of memory and the power of narrative to assemble such fragments into a whole. Marles considers the therapeutic potential of life story work. Photographs were at the center of this exploration, used both to document the past and to help remembering. Marles brings the perspective of the documentarian. Her website is an example to look for alternative ways of presenting documentary that undercut authenticity by refusing, in Marles' case, linearity. Marles does not wish to reject the veracity of her narrator's lived experience. The website presents elements of a life story, but the website visitor is also given the opportunity to put them together in different ways. While print publications have been a dominant medium for oral historians to publish their research, Marles' interactive website showcases the multimedia documentary opportunities for oral history and photography used in tandem to produce histories that are not conclusive but instead are open to multiple readings.

Item ID: 42161
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-230-10460-0
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2016 02:17
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210304 Biography @ 50%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190205 Interactive Media @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 50%
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