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By H.P.V. Nunn

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4 Our notion of photographs as “memory prompts” does not sit easily in a (post-)structuralist understanding of photographs, because this notion is based on the assumption that photographs are “windows on the world” (Burgin) that are simply further opened through the elicitation of details and stories about a past reality “captured” in the photograph. This chapter attempts to develop an approach that goes beyond the use of photographs as mnemonic devices and investigates the complex interaction between oral narrative and photograph.

The Technologizing of the Word (London: Routledge, 2003 [1982]), 7. 3. ” Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture Vol. 1 (London: Verso, 1994), 343; the same point was made by participants in a 1979 workshop on family history and photography in the United States; see Joan R. Challinor, Jonathan Garlock, Judith Mara Gutman, Amy Kotkin, Catherine Hanf Noren, Amalie Rothschild, Jamil Simon, William Stapp, Elisabeth Weis, “Family Photo Interpretation,” Kin and Communities: Families in America, ed.

Patricia Holland, “ ‘Sweet It Is to Scan’ . . Personal Photographs and Popular Photography,” in Wells, Photography, 113–158, 128. Bachmann-Medick, Cultural Turns, 25–27. Tucker, “Entwined Practices,” 3. See, for example, Ronald J. Grele, “Movement Without Aim,” in Ronald J. Grele, Envelopes of Sound: The Art of Oral History, 2nd rev. and enlarged ed. (Chicago, IL: Precedent Publishing, 1985); Paul Thompson, “Chapter 4: Evidence,” in The Voice of the Past, 118–172; Luisa Passerini, “Work Ideology and Consensus under Italian Fascism,” History Workshop 8, 1 (1979), 82–108; Alessandro Portelli, “The Peculiarities of Oral History,” History Workshop 12, 1 (1981): 96–107.

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