The family photograph for many has been nothing more than a record of the past, stored away or scattered in frames throughout the home. However, for others, these 4x6 images hold more than just visual information. They can contain an entire gamut of life events, experiences, and emotions that can transport us to forgotten familiarities. Ben Bowden Lee explores these objects of memory, and uses the material passed down through the generations to recreate strange and bizarre scenes.


Deconstructing and restructuring family photographs for him is a way to cope with feelings of forfeiture and frustration brought on by the memory loss of family members and the death of family lines. His use of digital manipulation allows him to mesh scenes together as seamlessly or abruptly as seen fit within the physical limitations of the initial photographs. It allows him to bridge the gap of past and present in a way that illustrates the failures of memory.


He forms clouds or screens of confusion and passages between time and space by manipulating the imagery present within the photographs. Multiple memories colliding into one another on the flat surface represents an overall recollection of self and place. The use of playful abstraction, expressive mark making, and erasure are actively used to represent the constant flux of memory and the mind over time. In the end, the piece resembles something between painting and photography, often incorporating both digital and physical marks, creating a unique sense of space and texture.