During the past 66 years, the Baby Boomers and their families have become the most photographed body of people in history. They have grown up with the advent of mass produced cameras, cost effective film and photographic production techniques, and now, digital photomedia technology. The celebration, drama, loves, desires, and evolution of their lives have been photographically recorded, but often lies forgotten and ‘unloved’ in dusty boxes, unopened albums and cluttered drawers in homes throughout Australia. Conrad in ‘At Home in Australia’ (2003, p. 85) talks of, ‘…a treasure chest…where his parents kept their photos.’ My research opens up these containers of photographs, to investigate and record each participant’s engagement with the ‘still’ photographic mediums and its influence on them, the recording of the lives of their families, their interpretations of nostalgia and their recollections through reconstructed memory.
Australia appears to be evolving a culture, “throw it away, make room for the new, it costs too much to store, we don’t need that old stuff”. The concepts of dumping and the use of landfill sites fills me with dread. I am scared that my life, my memories, my records will be processed in to recycled packaging for a new, must have, piece of technology for the next generation. Yet this does not make me a Luddite one who is against advancement and development. I love new technology and the evolution of our culture; but in this research I argue that our history, our past, is the solid foundation on which we build our future. The old does not have to be tossed aside to make way for the new. In a poignant article in the Sydney Morning Herald about burning, selling or denying our past, journalist Bob Ellis comments: ‘…how little we do in Australia to keep hold of the past.’ (Ellis 1999)