Laima Vainiņa

The Picture that wasn’t there


Childhood memories are peculiar things, because sometimes you can’t be sure if you really remember something, or if you just think you do because others have told you about it, or you saw a photo of it later on.

There are almost no photos of my childhood.

Sometimes it makes me feel deeply offended. The memories have not been registered.

My mind holds a lot of impressions of the past, but there isn’t any visual evidence. It tends to cast doubt on the veracity of these memories.

Everyone has the right to their childhood photo. But mother is too busy to be taking photographs; she’s working all the time.

I started to compensate the lack of childhood images by constantly taking pictures of my step-sister and step-brother. Initially, this process was simply a means to document their lives and their relationships, but it has grown into a desperate need to reconstruct photographs that were – or were not – likely to be taken during my childhood. The project “The Picture that wasn’t there” is my attempt to heal my memory and clear the heavy mist in my imagination.