Long before I knew the myth of birds as messengers between the living and the dead, I had associated them with my little sister Julie. Julie was a collector of birds; real birds, exotic birds
that she bestowed with ordinary names like Jimmy. She was one of those people who had a magnetic attraction for the amazing and unbelievable. In her early twenties she answered an ad in the back of a avian trade publication for a bird trainer at the now defunct Opryland in Nashville. She had no professional experience that qualified her for such a position and I privately scoffed at her chances. But, she being Julie, got the job and moved from the Midwest by herself, to start a life that I could barely imagine. Julie died when she was 29. Her death was the first experience I had with such a tragic loss. This all happened many years ago, but the recent deaths of my mom and dad have triggered memories of all the deaths I have previously lived. Loss and memory. I have been reading about memory and its relationship to archive and the family snapshot. Memory is a big subject and I am in the process of whittling it down into something that has meaning for me and my work. I am currently consumed with the idea put forth by Sven Spieker in The Big Archive about the Surrealists archiving omissions. An archive of what is not said and what is not shown. Seems a ideal way to talk about memory. I was grappling with this idea in earlier posts, the ones showing the faded and dissolving family snapshots. But I didn't have the language to understand what I was trying to do. I am still developing that language and noticing the effect it has on my understanding and image making.