A Poor Sort of Memory

Tracy L Chandler

2019 - 2021

A POOR SORT OF MEMORY is a collection of photographs made in and around my hometown in the California desert. As I revisit old hideouts in concrete washes and private bunks in rock formations, I am reminded of my youthful desperation to find both a sense of belonging and an independent self. But the past is a like a slippery fish and the more I try to pin it down, the more it escapes my grasp.

Now as I return to these spaces to photograph, I embrace memory as the unreliable narrator and use the tracings of my personal history to craft a new loose photographic fiction. Through metaphor and staged constructions, I explore vulnerability, isolation, and the awkward process of coming of age.

In the image series as well as the photobook maquette, I weave together, landscapes, symbolic objects, and portraiture of my son, Eli, in an effort to use photography as a flawed means of bearing witness to my son’s unique maturation amidst the recollections of my own past long gone.

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  • Tree Cave, 2019

  • Eli on Ramp, 2021

  • Mini House, 2020

  • Eli in Sun, 2020

  • Glass Door, 2021

  • Cuffs on Wheel, 2020

  • Target with Cabbage, 2019

  • Prickly Pear with Safety Cone, 2021

  • Lot at Sundown, 2021

  • Wave at Night, 2020

  • Eli with Stars, 2021