Ubique [oo-bee-kwe] – by Isabel Trott (1)

“Archives exists in the present, yet their endless “waiting without forgetting” locates them in the past.” Ubique [oo-bee-kwe] brings together eight dynamic graduating photographers from UCA Rochester in collaboration with REMLA (Royal Engineers Museum Library and Archive). In response to the archive the diverse photographers created individual works which shed new light on the historical material.

Follow the work of the students through their blog posts, and through a springtime exhibition.

Isabel Trott, Part 1:

Friday 22nd September 2017- Week 1

When I heard of the opportunity to work with the archives at the Royal Engineers Museum and Library Archive, I knew I couldn’t pass on a chance to creatively explore and work with the Archive and the Royal Engineers. As a Photographer I like to explore the notion of passing time and change whether that be from the past to the present or the present to the future or visa versa, sometimes through an indirect approach.

In the first week of being introduced to the archive I was astonished with the amount of material the Museum and Archive had collected over the years. The main element of the archive that I was drawn in particular was the magnitude of photo albums that they had stored away there. For me the albums captured the personal histories of the Royal Engineers, through not only what I saw in the actual photographs but also through the damage which had been done to the albums since being made. Those damaged details made the albums appear ‘real’, the idea that someone had made this, told their story, and had taken it through their lifetime for it to then be passed on. From the torn images and pages to the water marks to the mould each album was unique: as unique as each of the Royal Engineers themselves. The albums hold a vast amount of detail and the Library Archive has managed to preserve the albums to reduce the levels of degrading further. Not only are they preserving the fragility of the physical albums but also the histories and memories of the Royal Engineers.

Based on what I engaged with over the week, my initial idea for this project is to create photographic work which focuses upon the actual archive itself. Despite my main focus not being on the Royal Engineers, they will still have an underlying presence within the work. I want to produce work which looks at the physicality and preservation of the degrading images and albums as they have gone through time.

Alongside the photographic work, I’m going to create a short piece of text which connects the Royal Engineers to the imagery. This allows the audience to engage with the project allowing their perspective to place the Royal Engineers into the images themselves therefore making the invisible, visible.