My parents died within a few months of each other. They lived in the same house for 60 years, from the day they were married until their deaths. Once they were gone, I was left with my grief, memories of our lives together, and all their possessions, including a well-organized archive of family photos.
In my series, Memory Building, I projected those vernacular photographs onto the surfaces of my childhood home in the same locations that they were originally made and rephotographed the scene. By fusing photos from the past onto the present-day walls, I unearthed six decades of engrained memories and captured my family's vanishing presence that once permeated our mid-century suburban home—the container for so much of my personal history.
Constructing the projected tableaus made the memories more substantive for me, provided solace for my grieving and created a new family pictorial legacy for future generations. With so many formative experiences rooted and intertwined within this building, saying goodbye to it was also saying goodbye to my parents. Even as the rooms were literally whitewashed in preparation for new owners, my memories continued to resonate within the walls.
Girl Scouts © Annette LeMay Burke
Baking Cookies © Annette LeMay Burke
Birthday Party © Annette LeMay Burke
Chuck's Corvette © Annette LeMay Burke
Annette LeMay Burke
Dining Room Dinghy © Annette LeMay Burke
Annette LeMay Burke is a photographic artist and Northern California native who lives in the heart of Silicon Valley. A longtime observer of the evolution of the western landscape, Burke's work is about connection, especially in relationship to the land and place. She is interested in how our environment changes over time and the telltale artifacts — both tangible and temporal — that are left behind. She explores metaphorical clues in the landscape as well as her personal connections to the west. She also examines how technology links us to each other via its idiosyncratic presence in the landscape. Burke received a BA in Geology from the University of California at Berkeley. After a decade long career in high-tech, she now focuses on her artistic practice.
In 2022, Burke was selected for the Critical Mass Top 50 and the LensCulture Critics' Choice 22. In 2021, she was awarded first place in the LENSCRATCH Vernacular Photography Exhibition, won the Imago Lisboa Photography Festival in Portugal, and was a semi-finalist for the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery Outwin Boochever competition in Washington DC.
Burke's work is exhibited widely throughout the US and internationally at institutions such as Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Candela Gallery in Virginia, Griffin Museum of Photography in Massachusetts, Los Angeles Center for Photography, Association of Photographers in London, and Hellerau Portrait Awards in Dresden, Germany.
She is one of eleven female photographers who created the Memory is a Verb collective. The group produced a traveling exhibition which is showing at four locations across the US in 2023.
Her images have been featured in The New York Times, L.A. Times, Hyperallergic, Sierra Club Magazine, Newsweek Japan, Elle Decor Italy, Fraction, All About Photo, KATALOG, The Riv Magazine and the Daily Mail.
Burke's monograph, Fauxliage: Disguised Cell Phone Towers of the American West, was published by Daylight Books in 2021. Ann M. Jastrab, Executive Director of the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, California, contributed the forward.
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Garage Workshop © Annette LeMay Burke
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My Playhouse © Annette LeMay Burke
Next Generation © Annette LeMay Burke
Rumpus Room © Annette LeMay Burke
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Snuggies, Remote and Buck © Annette LeMay Burke
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