MAR 65 (2013 - 2014), 29 x 42” color photograph




              In America, the photographer is not simply the person
              who records the past, but the one who invents it..
– Susan Sontag

Do you really remember your past, or have you simply seen the photographs so many times, you believe you retain those memories? The relationship between photography and memory is complicated; it is dubious at best. I have always been fascinated with family photos and have collected them most of my life. Recently, I’ve been drawn to the abandoned pictures that were relegated to my parents’ basement. These once precious objects have been neglected and forgotten. Inadvertently exposed to water, heat, and humidity, they have undergone a powerful transformation. My new work utilizes these severely damaged pictures as subject matter. Elusive Memory explores the significance of vernacular photographs as aesthetic objects and cultural artifacts. The resulting large-scale photographs make commonplace objects monumental and emphasize their unique details. In their final representation, these banal objects become simulacra of loss and speak eloquently to the ephemeral nature of memory.



Lost in Thought (2013 - 2014), 30 x 42” color photograph


Deborah Orloff is a Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Art at the University of Toledo. She teaches all levels of Photographic Art at UT’s Center for Visual Arts, and has been a professional artist for over 20 years. Originally from New York, Orloff received her MFA in Photography from Syracuse University and her BFA from Clark University. Although her primary medium is photography, she has also worked in video and installation. Her artwork has been included in numerous exhibitions at national and international venues including: the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City; the Toyohashi Museum of Art & History in Toyohashi, Japan; EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia; and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, Scotland. A portfolio of photographs from her new series, Elusive Memory, was selected by Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography for inclusion in their collection as part of the Midwest Photographers Project. Deborah Orloff has been the recipient of dozens of grants and awards, including corporate sponsorship by Hahnemühle Paper in Germany, and regularly gives public lectures about her photo-based art.


On the Road (2013 - 2014), 31 x 42” color photograph


Extended Pause (2013-14), 30 x 42” color photograph


Honeymoon Portrait (2013 - 2014), 42 x 28” color photograph

Transaction (2013 - 2014), 32 x 42” color photograph

The Pencil (2013 - 2014), 42 x 29” color photograph


Finally Engaged (2013 - 2014), 42 x 28” color photograph


Anonymous Groom (2013 - 2014), 42 x 30” color photograph

Madonna and Child (2013 - 2014), 30 x 42” color photograph
Thwarted Gaze (2013 - 2014), 27 x 42” color photograph
Reflection (2013 - 2014), 30 x 42” color photograph

Jay as a Boy (2013 - 2014), 42 x 28” color photograph


Lost Bridesmaid (2013 - 2014), 42 x 32” color photograph


Engagement Party (2013 - 2014), 30 x 42” color photograph


‘53 Pontiac (2015), 29 x 42” color photograph

Seventh Month (2013 - 2014), 30 x 42” color photograph
Writing Home (2015), 32 x 42” color photograph
Halloween (2015), 32 x 42” color photograph
Two Months (2013-14), 42 x 31” color Photograph