Alice In Wonderland from "Prior Pleasures

Filled With Memories from "I Can Only Remember What I Don't Forget

Everything I Gave Away 1 from "Seeking Epicurus

Ellen Cantor


Artist Statement

My images are about time, loss, and memory. By photographing and re-contextualizing precious mementos I have sought to understand how life proceeds and then, ultimately, disappears. I document the artifacts of the past in order to enrich my present. 

This exploration of objects from the past led me to explore the books of my childhood.  In “Prior Pleasures,” each photograph of a vintage book is taken using a multiple exposure technique, incorporating end pages, illustrations, and text. This allows me to show the excitement of a book fluttering open, coming to life for readers of all generations. 

In “I Can Only Remember What I Don’t Forget,” I examine how families archive and pass down memories from generation to generation. This work responds to a universally relatable experience, of sifting through the items left behind, determining how to incorporate our inheritance.

This led me to the series “Seeking Epicurus.” As I looked around my home of forty years, I realized I had accumulated many objects. Photographing each object prior to donation transformed the items into a still life — evidence of all the life lived within these walls. 

Together, I hope that my photographs offer answers to a basic question—“What does our past mean to us--as individuals, as families, and as a community?”