Category Archives: Exercise 3: Childhood memory

Project 2: Masquerades: Exercise 3

Exercise 2
Recreate a childhood memory in a photograph. Think carefully about the memory you choose and how you’ll recreate it. You’re free to approach this task in any way you wish.
• Does the memory involve you directly or is it something you witnessed?
• Will you include your adult self in the image (for example, to ‘stand in’ for your childhood self) or will you ask a model to represent you? Or will you be absent from the image altogether? (You’ll look at the work of some artists who have chosen to depict some aspect of their life without including themselves in the image in the next project.)
• Will you try and recreate the memory literally or will you represent it in a more metaphorical way, as you did in Part Two?
• Will you accompany your image with some text?
• In your learning log, reflect on the final outcome. How does the photograph resemble your memory? Is it different from what you expected? What does it communicate to the viewer? How?
It might be interesting to show your photograph to friends or family members – perhaps someone who was there at the time and someone who wasn’t – and see what the image conveys to them.

The image I have chosen is the one of me standing, with my parents and my older sister on my First Communion Day, Before the front door of the photographer.

My First Communion Day

My First Communion Day

There are a number of reasons why I remember the day and particularly this photograph so clearly.

First Communion Day was a very special day in the life of a 1950’s Irish child. One prepared for this day throughout out the 7th year. We learned to regurgitate great tranches of catechism, very little of which we understood. We were continually encouraged to be ‘good’. We had to ‘confess’ our sins before a priest notwithstanding the fact that it is practically impossible to imagine how a child of seven could sin. All of this ritual instilled terror in us. But there were also good things that happened on that day. Our parents went out of their way to try to make the rest of the day after the church part, as memorable as possible.

My first port of call, after the church, was to a friend of my parents who was a police photographer. For us children this was a fascinating profession. We imagined Mr. Horgan at the scene of all sorts of sinister crimes and accidents and here he was taking the pictures of my ‘big day’ as it was described.

I thought my mother and father looked like film stars with their new outfits. My sister wore her confirmation outfit. When I asked her to send me this photograph we discussed the contents without having to look at it as we both recalled clearly the day.

What I propose to do is to try to dress like my mother, since I am supposed to be very like her. I will superimpose myself on the above photograph. It must be remembered that my mother was 43 years old on my communion day and i am now 71!! What I want to do with this re-construction is to examine how I feel about not rearing my daughter in any religion, rather I allowed my children to choose when they were old enough to decide for themselves. Do I think I have deprived my daughter of something my parents gave me?


The answer is I am happy that my children choose their own religious paths without influence from me.

Technical detail:

I dressed as close to the above image of my mother as I could. I then used the magnetic lasso tool to cut myself out and place that image on a new layer with a masque. I then copied and pasted the old image into that file and sandwiched it in between the newly created layer of me and the original photo of me with plain background. I used free transform to resize the image of myself and tried to superimpose this on the the original of my mother. There was quite a lot of cleaning up to do. I also had to copy and paste pieces of tile around my feet! I am sure it is not perfect but it was a near as I could get with my present knowledge of Photoshop. I then increased the noise of myself in the image to match it closer wit the others in the picture.