Colleen Stark

We Are What We Keep

We Are What We Keep explores my maternal family history through the objects my mother inherited from her deceased family. Through the process of photographing these objects which she has displayed throughout her home, I have created a new photographic archive of these items that have been passed down through generations, and that serve as one of the only links my mother (and I) have to her family.

The grief and loss my mother has experienced in her life have manifested into the displaying of furniture, paintings, trinkets and other home decor that now make up a large part of the space in her home. Her relationship to these objects is personal and sentimental, from an outside perspective they may not appear to have any value at all; however, to my mother, they are invaluable. This concept prompted my research into the historical context of family photography and how the outside viewer can connect with photographs and objects that belong to someone else, considering the individuality of each item. My goal is to explore the relationship between my mother and these objects, especially when forced to confront them, and so I could learn more about a family I never knew.