Vinca Petersen interviewed by Sheryl Garratt – Future Fantasy (Ditto 2017)
This book uses material from the very start of my archive, a small collection of about 100 photographs I’d kept from my teens and early 20s, along with my diaries.
I started taking photos when I was very young: my dad was an amateur photographer, so I was always taking pictures around the house. Later I’d take pictures of my friends at school, and they’d use my camera to take pictures of me.
I didn’t think they were of any value, at first. They were just things I’d happened to keep. Unlike my later pictures of travelers and sound systems, there was nothing special about the subject matter – anyone could have taken these 100 or so early pictures.
But going through them later with Ben Freeman, who designed the book, I realized that was exactly why they were interesting. They were a record of what could be pretty much any girl growing up, having her first adventures away from parents and home, then in my case moving to London at 17, trying to earn a living while also discovering Ecstasy and the rave scene.
I used my diaries at the time as scrapbooks, sticking in flyers, stickers and tickets for parties we went to; passport photos of me and my friends; and the crazy, collaged birthday cards they made for me. To me, that’s a huge part of the story I’m telling. It was important to put all of that into the book, not just the photos.
The only thing that feels unusual is that I had these solid objects recording it all: diaries, photographic prints, the hand-made birthday cards. And my generation might be the last to have that.
Now everything is digital, and absolutely everything is recorded – but nothing stays. It all gets lost. A digital photo quickly gets forgotten, down the end of some thread. Then the device it’s stored on gets replaced and thrown away, because they’re just images from a year or so ago, and you never like anything about yourself a year ago. You only find it interesting 10, 20 years later. Future Fantasy is me, as an adult, looking back at that material, and making sense of it.
© Vinca Petersen