If you've ever dug through a mound of found photographs, you've undoubtably experienced the strange sensation of encountering the banal and intimate moments of complete strangers. Whether the immortalized image is from a birthday party, a summer afternoon or a trip to a theme park, personal photos flood the viewer with an overwhelming sense of both camaraderie and alienation.
This odd space of in-betweenness is the inspiration for one of the cutest and most terrifying photo projects we've seen in a while: Angela Deane's "Ghost Photographs." How can memories that don't belong to you feel so familiar? Can we acquire memories we've never experienced? Deane poses these weighty questions through suspiciously sweet looking photographs. Be warned, adorable as they may seem, rest assured they'll haunt you later.
Deane's series, which she describes as "little paintings on found photographs," transforms family memories into haunting and anonymous portraits. "My work explores the beautiful, painful, and ultimately puzzling, human condition of having memories," Deane explains on her website. "In these photographs, I cover the people with paint, subtracting the specific identity of each person and transforming them into anonymous ghosts for the viewer to project upon. In this way, a private and specific experience becomes an open and shared one through the material addition of paint on photograph."
The resulting imagery, upon first glance, is an adorable DIY experiment in which household photos morph into portable paintings. Yet the longer you dwell upon the little, white ghosts that have infiltrated Deane's photographic world, the stranger their effect becomes. The photos haven't just been manipulated, they've been haunted. Whatever anonymous individuals once existed are in effect white-washed, leaving their life's memories and experiences to be shared by any who wish to join in.
"Through this haunting of the material," Deane explains, "the ghosts become us and we become the ghosts."
See the ghost photos below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.