In his series Lament, American photographer John Steck Jr. (b. 1980) draws our attention to the materiality of photography and the memories captured and lost through this quality. By manipulating the image-making process of particular photographs, Steck exposes the archival function of images – a function which has, of course, varying levels of success and failure. He uses gelatine silver paper but in a non-traditional way: his photographs are created without a darkroom or chemicals.
In Lament, the photographs shift and change, the same way that we do as physical beings – especially his images of open doors, which remind us of the way memories float in and out of our minds, just as we move in and out of different spaces.
The photographs in Lament relate to moments of loss, nostalgia, fondness and love, and how these phenomena move through us. In the photographer’s own words, “the images themselves still remain imbedded inside me, yet the meanings behind these photographs have become lost, and at times, desensitized”. Lament reminds us of the evanescent nature of memories while exposing the way we can manipulate both our memories and the medium of photography.