We each carry with us a negative – a recorded image in our minds of a time that once was. Like a negative, this memory is a bit skewed – it is exactly what happened, but it is also not exactly what happened. It is enhanced through our particular perspectives, careful framing, and selected subjects. Sometimes we record moments differently than how it was – maybe we thought her shirt was blue, when it was really red.
Each time we look back at these negatives and relay the story of that moment to others, we make a print - something to show others in an attempt to explain the reason why that moment was so poignant, and to make that moment live on. Each time, the print is a little different in subtle ways. Some of us have whole rolls of film with frames of these memories. Others have lost a few along the way, keeping records of only the most treasured, or the most riveting, moments.
The photographs in this body of work were created during a short two-day visit, quite possibly my last visit ever to Grove. As a child, I used to visit my grandmother in Grove every summer, and every year the place remained the same: the furniture exactly in the same position, and the decor was hardly modified at all over the years, save for the school photographs of the grandchildren which were updated yearly. This constancy created a strong sense of stability and comfort for all family members who came to visit.
In 2007, my grandmother packed up thirty-two years worth of memories and moved to a town home located closer to family members in Springfield, Missouri. I found myself wondering why I had not photographed in my grandmother’s home before. Suddenly, I felt a strong sense of urgency to document a way of living that was coming to an end. My photographs are attempts to record details about the house in Grove: those details that were always exactly the same, the details that had changed since Mamma had begun packing, and the details that I never paid attention to until I knew I would never see and experience them exactly this way again.
These photographs were combined with text written by Mayfield family members and are presented together in a book (available through Blurb.com) to better encompass the range of tones, textures, and light recorded in our family’s varied memories of Grove.