I am investigating events linked to car crashes through site-specific locations and pre-existing materials. In 2007, I was involved in a car crash that left me with temporary memory loss. Between the years of 2008 and 2012, several people I knew from my hometown of East Troy, Wisconsin, lost their lives in car accidents. The youngest victim was seventeen and the oldest was twenty-six. In this thesis publication, two bodies of work based on the autobiographical and the biographical are interwoven into an interpretation about memory and loss.

Portraits that appear to be distorted by bright light and lens blur represent the victims who perished in car crashes. These appropriated images originated from obituary pages. They were pre-existing photographs chosen by the victim's family. Yet, here the portraits are almost made unrecognizable by the bright flash of light reminiscent of a car's headlights.

Various related texts appropriated from news sources about each victim's accident are compiled and are represented in the form of an image to convey pieces of information either lost or just coming into visual focus. The fractured memory of my own crash, along with the influences of the victims' crashes, acts as an incomplete narrative of imagery told in a temporal and fading story of remembrance. The repetition of images and the artificial structure of "evidence" questions how traumatic events--and the victims themselves--are remembered and then forgotten.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Photography, Artistic; Photobooks; Artists' books; Traffic accidents--Pictorial works; Memory in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Imaging Arts (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CIAS)


Christine Shank


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TR655 .F664 2014


RIT – Main Campus

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