Having chosen to create images made up of scenes (places) and objects of the past, both personal and local, I have found that I have embarked on creating a mediated memory of the past. This physical image of the object or scene has been created as it exists today via an endangered medium (the Polaroid). I had chosen this format particularly due to its whimsical element, the fact that we had these cameras as kids thus they carry a nostalgia with them that, at least for my generation and from the places I’ve been, other cameras don’t have. Not only is the object of the Polaroid picture something that has an iconic vintage/nostalgic value, but the quality of the image it creates goes further into the dream like with its blurry, white graininess.
Having created a number of ‘categories’, somewhat unwittingly by spilling over my own rules of what I wanted to record through the Polaroids, I ended up with images that ‘show’ Bahrain in a number of different lights. Among them are:
The Vintage Value of the Water Gardens: The Water Gardens is a place that most people in Bahrain have memories of. The park has the same rides and is still the same location with the same mood throughout it, unlike many places of my (or my friends' and family’s) childhood in Bahrain. Visiting the Gardens brings us all closer to our memories when we walk around.
The Joker is a ride that most people grew up knowing, as kids, it felt like it went so high we could see above the palms and onto the busy roads and growing highways. The Balloon Race was the only Ferris Wheel style ride in the country, also feeling like it took us above and beyond the world of the Water Gardens. When looking at it today, I get a better perception of how small I actually must have been. Otherwise, the vintage popcorn machines still make the salty popcorn put in brown bags that quickly get greasy. The same shiny windmills on sticks and inflatable robots and Strawberry Shortcake dolls are on sale near the other candy.
By taking the pictures of the Water Gardens with what can be considered a gimmick camera that leaves us with no negatives to reproduce the shot and thus the inability to take it seriously, which in itself adds to the child-like element of the medium, have I captured a memory? The way I see this place today has much to do with the way I remember it to be, but is that conveyed in the image? Perhaps, having that early and mid-80’s experience of my past onto a early to mid-80’s medium has left me with a sort of look-back at the contemporary in object form.