Re-staging the original street photos was a way of connecting with the past through the descendants and those still living. While the buildings behind looked the same, the face of the city had changed. Today it is a thriving mix of ethnicities and diverse cultures that stands in stark contrast to this predominantly white photographic history.
Inspired by a candid street photograph taken of my mother in Prague in 1948, I became interested in this forgotten genre of photography. My mother’s album contained a handful of street photographs showing herself with friends in Europe during the 1940s, before she migrated to Australia. These images capture her at a particular time and moment in history before she fled communism. Finding other photographs of my mother with new Australian friends on the streets of this city was a starting point for a call out to the public to uncover and this unseen archive and to consider its history.
Photographs record lost moments, lost objects, lost people. They are inherently nostalgic, offering a tangible trace of what was and that which remains. Revisiting these historical images through the descendants provides a way of reframing the past with a contemporary lens. These images prompt a deeper reflection on our forebears, the differences that separate us and the similarities that bind us. While we may stand in the place where our ancestors stood, witnessing the city’s ever-changing nature, these portraits are a way of keeping their memory alive and indelibly etched in the city’s psyche.