Michelle Saffran


I look to the formative influences of memory on identity and question the role of the photograph as a record of the truth. Through the manipulation of the photographic image, both digitally and by hand through acts of sanding, sewing and collage, I move the photograph off the wall and into a multidimensional construction. By means of defacing and reassembling the image, my mission is to distill the emotions connected to the losses of the past as they are filtered thorough time and the subjectivity of memory. 


This non-traditional use of the photograph includes the reworking of vernacular snapshots which are cut and sewn into quilt and apron forms. 

I have recently turned my eyes to the land and the process of the melting permafrost as a visual metaphor for memory.  Permafrost is land that has been frozen continually for two or more consecutive years and is made up of layer upon layer of decayed plants, animals and other organic and inorganic materials.  Almost a quarter of all land in the Northern Hemisphere is underlaid with permafrost.  As the Earth's surface warms it causes the permafrost to melt and the matter in each layer becomes exposed to air releasing the layers of once living materials back into the present.