Sylvia de Swaan is a photographer born in Romania in 1941, at age ten she immigrated to the United States. She has also lived and worked in Europe and Mexico. Her work is usually focused around specific projects and follows themes that are common to her work. These themes are: identity, personal history, individualism and collective memory.
The project that I am going to look at is her photography series titled Return.
In these series of photographs she looks back on her Jewish heritage and her Eastern European background. In some of her images she uses a combination of old photographs and images from her journey. Some of these pictures are taken on the train journey between destinations, this shows de Swaan’s physical journey, but could also symbolise her spiritual journey into her heritage and ancestry as she returns to her family’s home.
In my next project I am looking into doing a sort of journey and also how to document some of it. These photographs are very interesting and document a lot more than writing down words could.
I also feel that they aren’t typical documentary photographs but the viewer is still able to follow the narrative of the journey.
I am also still looking for a purpose for my work and I think that Sylvia de Swaan’s purpose here is very personal and poignant as she is going on a journey retracing her family’ journey.
Until next time,