Forget Me Not

Photography and Remembrance

Geoffrey Batchen

     7.75 × 9.25 in (19.7 × 23.5 cm)
128 pages
80 color illustrations
Publication date: 8/1/2006
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568986197

Since its invention, photography has always been inextricably tied up with remembrance: photographs recall family, beloved friends, special moments, trips and other events, speaking across time and place to create an emotional bond between subject and viewer.

Forget Me Not focuses on this relationship between photography and memory, and explores the curious and centuries-old practice of strengthening the emotional appeal of photographs by embellishing them--with text, paint, frames, embroidery, fabric, string, hair, flowers, bullets, cigar wrappers, butterfly wings, and more--to create strange and often beautiful hybrid objects. This spellbinding book features color photographs of eighty such objects, extraordinary works of art--part memento, part Joseph Cornell--created by ordinary people from the mid-19th to mid-20th century.

In addition, Forget Me Not offers an alternative way to look at the history of photography, a history that effectively excludes most of the photographs--candid views, family snapshots, and the like--taken since the invention of the camera. Noted photography historian Geoffrey Batchen adopts a different tone in this original and engaging book--a personal and speculative voice that speaks to the objects rather than about them while offering a visual treasure chest of both mysterious and beautiful images.

Forget Me Not is published with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and accompanies and exhibition of the same name that opens at the Museum in March 2004.

Geoffrey Batchen has taught at several institutions including the University of California, Santa Cruz; the University of California, San Diego; and the University of New Mexico. In July 2002 he took up his current position as Professor of the History of Photography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Batchen is the author of many articles and several books, including Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography (MIT Press, 1997), Each Wild Idea: Writing Photography History (MIT Press, 2001), and the upcoming William Henry Fox Talbot (Actar), a study of one of the inventors of photography.

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