"We remember what we understand; we understand only what we pay attention to; we pay attention to what we want." - Edmund Blair Bolles (Memory Specialist)
Every area, every environment expresses itself through its features. In rural areas these are typically forests and fields, mountains and rivers. In the city, buildings old and new, monuments and streets are what we tend to think of when considering its visual identity. But within this urban environment, on the periphery and subtly informing our senses are what I refer to as ‘concretions’. These are the pieces of street furniture, paving, paths and markings that also help supply an identity to the environment. What do they tell us about the area? Are they new or old? Clean or filthy? Do they speak of adherence to a particular style or are they a hotchpotch of remnants from different ages?.
The collection of imagery I have put together here represents a cross section of concretions from Sunderland’s East End. Photographed during the back end of 2012 they are also a potential time-stamp when viewed collectively.
I am also interested in what causes us to notice things and to subsequently remember what we notice. To me this is the process of ‘concretion’. Often it is obvious; the magnificent cathedral or the huge tower block are hard to miss, but equally it’s that bit harder to feel personally acquainted with such structures. This is where the smaller things, the minutiae of familiar areas can take on their own special significance. ‘What happened to me just here on these steps? Near this pavement? In this space?’ In short, what do these things mean to me, or could they mean to me?
I will not forget any of the things you are about to see, but then again I photographed them and turned them into images.
What will you remember?
Keywords:East End, Hendon, Sunderland, concretion, concretions, memory, street furniture