For many, photography is a method of memory-keeping – a way of freezing a moment in time to remember it for eternity. To keep a photograph is to keep a bygone reality. Canadian photographer Amy Friend explores the idea of capturing reality as we know it, and her series Multi-Verse tampering the rules by tearing the very fabric of reality.
Amy cannot pinpoint when exactly she began her relationship with photography – it has been ever-present in her world since childhood. Her first camera was a point-and-shoot that she received as a gift. When Amy thinks back to her early encounters with photography, she remembers her mother with a “ridiculously bright camera” loaded with Super8 film, capturing everything. These memories remain vivid in her mind, and Amy has become fascinated with remembering the past. She frequently looks back at her own old albums, talking through the photographs with her family.
However, Amy's interest in photography stretches beyond creating images, and she regularly experiments with printed photographs. She began to push the boundaries right after her first analogue photography course in university. “I was less interested in creating a perfect photo, and more interested in playing with the medium of photography.” explained Amy.
Multi-Verse is formed from a mix of vernacular photographs and Amy's own images. Amy has applied her own photo-manipulations – creating rips of light in each image – to symbolize the disruption of reality. Her title comes from the compound word multiverse, but she has broken it apart with a hyphen to reference the multiple stories or “verses” that accompany the photos in her series. Amy stated:
“I would say that there is always a rip in the fabric of reality. A photo is many things. I see some of my work and feel that it is trying to figure out how to understand the ghost on the surface. Why are we interested in looking at what we seemingly can see in reality? Maybe we are hoping for a revelation or a new encounter with what is familiar? Do photos have the capacity to offer indications of something else and if yes, what? I enjoy the push and pull of these types of inquiry.”
Surprisingly, as much as Amy's Multi-Verse encourages the time-traveler within us, there are no particular moments in her life that she wishes she could have captured. She would, however, love to be able to take photographs of people from the past, and possibly connect or reconnect with them.
“I never imagined I would want a reference through a fixed image. I prefer my memory to flow over those moments, find them – reinvent them, live with them as I change, and they change. I can think of a million fragments – some of tenderness, love, simplicity, and others of fear, violence and deep sadness... Now, I will contradict myself here and state that I wish I was able to see specific photos of my family in the past – what did their everyday life look like? What did the attic look like where they raised silkworms to save money in order to immigrate? These are things I imagine, but yes, curiosity has me here. I would love a photo. I think I might say something different if I was asked on a different day. I have no real desire to be in any one place or time, but I could jump on board and say I would like to sit with Frida Kahlo for a talk and maybe visit the Amazon Jungle when it was pristine but really, I would simply go back in time and spend another afternoon with my Nonna.”
Multi-Verse is still a work-in-progress, and Amy is very much open to taking the project in an exciting range of different directions: “I feel that there is a fair amount of expansion possible in this work. I like to show my projects in this ongoing phase because it puts them out there and makes me think about how they might shift and change over time. As for new work, I will be in Havana soon to start a new project... I’ll leave that there to see what happens. I try not to line everything up so adamantly. I prefer to play with possibilities.”