Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Memory is a Force.

Hi Lovelies.

A different kind of post from me today. I have spent the last week away photographing in both Christchurch and Reefton. It has been a truly incredible week.

Christchurch. I have been trying to think of how to describe my time there. It had been about 6 months since I had left Christchurch. For those of you who dont know, My partner and I decided to come back to Nelson following the February earthquake. He got offered a job here and we decided that it was time to move on. Definitely not an easy decision but one we dont regret.

When we first drove in Christchurch it was about 8:30pm and it was dark. We thought we would have a quick drive around and have a look. I literally did not know where I was. Now Christchurch is not where I was born or where I grew up but it was home to me for three years. In those three years I studied and lived right in the City centre so I like to think I knew the area well. I knew the streets by their buildings. As we were driving round, the sinking feeling of not recognizing where I was made me a little nervous but I just thought that the fact that it was dark was main reason why I had trouble knowing where I was. We decided we would go back in the morning.

We started in Hagley Park where they have set up an awesome Fan Zone for the Rugby World Cup. We went there with friends to watch the game between the All Blacks and Japan. Such a great set up and despite the rain and cold winds, the place was packed. The Arts festival was on also and there were all sorts of things set up. One of them being this big landscape photo randomly placed in the park, with what has become normal objects behind it, Metal containers and fencing. A bit of an escape for the people in Christchurch? Or just Art?

We walked on. Everything I saw on the way I had seen in Photos before, until we got to the Bridge of Remembrance/Cashel Mall. I had to take a moment and sit down when I looked through the fencing to what used to be a bustling area of Christchurch. I remember sitting up in a Photography Studio that was in Cashel Mall with friends a month before the earthquake and then looking down to see an empty area where it used to be. The lump in my throat returned for the first time in Months.

I, like the rest of Christchurch, struggled for a while with what I experienced that day. It took me ages to figure out exactly what it was that was making it replay over and over in my head. I know it was a huge event but I saw people around me that had been through the same thing getting on and not dwelling on it like I was. For me, it was the moment when I thought I was going to die that I couldn't get out of my head. The fear of death. I feel so bad saying that when there were people that lost their lives but I cant change what I felt. I just couldn't shake it. It took me a really long time for me to accept that day and move on. I found talking about it with people who were with me that day was the best way for me to get over the rut I was in but I now know that it helped them just as much as it helped me.

After our walk around I felt the last piece of my healing puzzle fall into place. Never far from my mind and something I will never forget but something I have accepted. The feeling in Christchurch is good. Exciting times a head for everyone as their city is rebuilt. I challenge you to find a tighter community.....
With Summer on its way, the colour is coming back to the City and it will live up to its reputation of being the Garden City.

Christchurch - The old you will be remembered for being historic and beautiful and the new you will bring new opportunities and memories for the generations now and the ones to come. Rise up.

1 comment:

  1. Awww, I know what you mean. Its been tough here! Your photo of the bridge of remembrance through the wire fence is tough to look at!