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  • October 3, 2013

Musings: Jackson Patterson’s Recollected Memories

How do you tell a story that began before you were born?

As visual storytellers, we look for new ways to tell a story, ways that can make the viewer look at the world—and perceive time—differently. We look for things that make you take a second glance. For photographer Jackson Patterson, this means combining two separate images to create a narrative. While projects like Dear Photograph have popularized the practice of combining old photos with new, Patterson’s work takes the trope a new level with technique and a clear voice. In the photo series, Recollected Memories, Patterson explores themes of family, land, and western migration.

Elevator Point
Elevator Point

Patterson says the idea came to him during “a family reunion at the ranch in Montana where my grandmother grew up. There was an old barn that her father, a ranch hand, was commissioned to build on the ranch.  That barn was later moved about 60 miles away onto another ranch.  All that is left at the original homestead is three walls of the house where she grew up with her four brothers.”

His first image in the series, Red Barn was inspired by this relocated old family barn. Patterson says “the background image is on the original homestead and the image of the barn is from its current location.” He says that making this image “brought up stories of what it was like to live on that ranch, the choices that were made, living off the land, and eventually migrating away from the ranch.  That is really only scratching the surface, but nonetheless it led me to search through the old family albums. The ones that usually we dread going through. The way the story came through successfully in that first image caused me to search for more connections visually and led to a lot of the other images.” In the final product, some of the layered images are old photographs, some are new.

Red Barn
Red Barn

Patterson describes the images in Recollected Memories  as “photomontage,” where one old photograph is digitally blended into a new one. This is not the first that he has worked with the pairing of multiple images. Patterson says, “I used to do traditional diptych imagery but with the first Recollected Memories image it made sense to layer the images.” This creates a new dimension of meaning, where we can see the progression of time in one image.

Although much of the inspiration for the project came from personal narratives, Patterson says that “I have found that these are not only my family’s stories, but are stories that exist throughout the west and beyond. They are stories of perseverance, pride, struggle, life and death. They are human stories intertwined in a majestic landscape.” Patterson’s work transports us directly into those narratives. The past blends with the future and the viewer is able to transcend time and space.

Hi Above
Hi Above
Framer's Dream
Framer’s Dream
Homestead
Homestead
Leaving the Farm
Leaving the Farm
Road Trip
Road Trip

View more of  Recollected Memories on Jackson Patterson’s website.

Follow Janna Dotschkal on Instagram and Twitter.

There are 43 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Fatai salami
    November 19, 2013

    It is an excellent way of telling an old story.

  2. Marek
    November 15, 2013

    Bardzo , bardzo interesujace i ciekawe fotografie .

  3. Yumna
    November 15, 2013

    Breathtaking

  4. carol
    November 14, 2013

    Great B/W photos

  5. Kamal Mohammedi
    November 14, 2013

    Old Black and white but Creative and beautiful for ever….

  6. Shi Yu
    November 5, 2013

    I enjoy the pictures very much and learn a lot from them.

  7. Ambika Shaw
    October 14, 2013

    Brave amalgamation of old and new moments to cherish

  8. ricardo angel
    October 13, 2013

    I quite like, very creative, good memories, bravoo.

  9. Karen Wingrove
    October 13, 2013

    There is such a haunting beauty in these photographs. I am drawn into those of wide western vistas and can smell the air.

  10. Libby
    October 8, 2013

    Haunting. It made time stand still for me.

  11. Elaine
    October 7, 2013

    Thank you for introducing me to this exciting artist and style of story telling

  12. Claudia
    October 7, 2013

    Creative. Simple and uplifting!

  13. TJ O’H
    October 7, 2013

    Conceptually Unique! The vision of an Artist!

  14. Deb Lynch
    October 7, 2013

    Brings back sweet memories of a different less complicated time . . .

  15. Richard Welsby
    October 7, 2013

    The images grab your attention and force a study of what’s going on. In some the past / present revives thoughts of history, some cause thoughts of different outcomes from choosing paths in life. The shot of the elevator on the shore makes me dread the day some greedy SOB finds a way to profit by paving the ocean over and brings thoughts of the cost of “progress”. Outstanding work and very thought provoking.

  16. Deanna
    October 7, 2013

    Very interesting photography!

  17. Lori Leeks
    October 7, 2013

    Wow! This is great. I am currently working on a photo album for my family as my Grandmother recently passed away and I’ve inherited the family photographs. This is a wonderful idea and I might try it.

  18. JoAnn Berg
    October 7, 2013

    I loved these pictures! Such a creative way to visualize life…not all that long ago…& yet it is!

  19. Laura
    October 7, 2013

    wonderfull shots, a great idea for the memories.

  20. Patty Brink
    October 6, 2013

    Very interesting. Your work makes me think of Jerry Uelsmann and his layered images.

  21. melat_92
    October 6, 2013

    Works amazing and beautiful

  22. Darlene Angelo
    October 6, 2013

    Very intriguing…if we only knew then what we know now, a lot of pain could be avoided but unfortunately, the majority of us cannot go “back to the future.” We must then persevere, God has a plan for us…

  23. JEWELLE`
    October 6, 2013

    Sooo great, I had the freeling I was right there with them, Thank you.

  24. bill mccormick
    October 6, 2013

    highly unusual.innovative and interesting.well done.

  25. miralbaluch
    October 6, 2013

    Very nice

  26. Robert Mathieson
    October 6, 2013

    Very nice work. Great idea, masterful execution. I like them.

  27. Libby
    October 6, 2013

    Stunning…

  28. Larry Yakimoski
    October 6, 2013

    The girl on horseback looks like my wife as a child riding across Saskatchewan prairie to the one room schoolhouse she attended as a child.

  29. bryanuj@o2.co.uk
    October 6, 2013

    Just a brilliant idea

  30. Lian Brehm
    October 6, 2013

    Rich context and thought provoking, and hauntingly beautiful.

  31. sakthi
    October 5, 2013

    excellent imagination

  32. Syed Danish Haider Abidi
    October 5, 2013

    memories are part of our life it cant be removed, but this is the fascinating way to keep them alive and share remarkable work.

  33. Opu
    October 4, 2013

    Simply Excellent!

  34. Blanca Pinon
    October 4, 2013

    A marvel …

  35. mariangeles
    October 4, 2013

    100 % creativo ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  36. Jim Patterson
    October 4, 2013

    I loved your reasoning for doing this series and especially liked the way you write and present your thoughts

  37. Jason Tate
    October 4, 2013

    Amazing work Patterson.

  38. jennifer hanhila
    October 4, 2013

    I love the composition and layering of pic on pic. Great ideas!

  39. Bert Kisselburg
    October 3, 2013

    Well done sir.

  40. Raven
    October 3, 2013

    Very impressive story telling.

  41. Andrea Polk
    October 3, 2013

    Absolutely stunning and timeless

  42. Dave Eriksen
    October 3, 2013

    The images affect the imagination like looking backwards through a warp in the fabric of time. So very effective.

  43. Sheryl Whiteman
    October 3, 2013

    Visual poetry

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