Dana Stirling

Israel / United States

My family roots back to England, but I was born in Israel. I was a child on a fence; a daughter to a migrating family. I always felt a misfit with my partial incomplete identity; torn apart between parents who have never blended in to the Israeli culture I felt only half belonged too.
Over the years I have heard of my parent’s memories and stories. Stories of happier days. The stories held on to the memories of time and culture that I wasn’t a part of, and portraits of family members that always remained anonymous to me. These stories were supposed to be my heritage. As I grew up I’ve started to question photography’s function as my memory, as my heritage.
I’ve browsed throw these old photos trying to look for a family but all I found was empty spaces. Stories of places I’ve never been to, people I never saw and a period that I haven’t lived in. Using photography I‘ve conducted an examination of my history. The images become objects that I use in order to create a new history and memory of my own; people and places as I would like to remember and understand them.

I walked at night with my camera through my old childhood neighborhood. Although it wasn’t where my home was, it was where my grandparents lived. It is a small neighborhood with old-fashioned Israeli buildings in a desert city of Maal’e Adumim.
I call it my childhood neighborhood because I spent many days playing and hiding between these buildings.
I came back to the neighborhood as a young adult, looking to ?ind all those memories, but they were long gone. I wasn’t able to remember much and everything felt different from this new perspective. It no longer felt like a large maze but instead it felt small and I could see all the path’s clearly.
I only felt comfortable walking around and exploring the place at night, when it was free of people, silent and it was just the streets and I.
I was able to reconnect to this place by observing the stillness of the buildings following the light spots around the neighborhood and listening to the crickets.
In the loneliness of the the night and it’s emptiness I felt as if I found my memories There are not speci?ic moments recreated here, but a feeling of home, of a place I understand even if I see it differently now than I did as a child.
This place will always be where my Grandfather, Pop, was. He is this light I am looking for, he is my childhood neighborhood.

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