Both photography and recorded music act not only as conduits of memory but also as ways of configuring it, as a particular image comes to stand as the memory we have of an event or place, perhaps acquiring greater significance than the moment it captures, or a certain song carries such resonant associations with a friend we have lost touch with or an unsettling episode in the past that they eclipse other occasions on which we have listened to it. As pieces of the past, they can summon forth strong evocations or set off powerful reverberations. We refer to photography and items of recorded music together as pieces of the past … The term may at first seem to be token artefacts that exist as static fragments, isolated from each other in and over time, but in the way we use it, it has a contrary sense. When a photograph is taken out of the setting in which it has acquired its intimate meaning, as for example in a family album, or when a popular song is noted simply by its bare title in a music catalogue, then can of course seem temporarily stranded, irrelative and without connect. They are not like that in everyday remember and, for that reason, we shall attempt to convey how, in such remembering, they are woven together as part of an extended and evolving narrative, and so interconnected across time, even as their meaning or value maybe modified or otherwise altered. But we do need to keep in view the differences between them as pieces of the past, along with the difference between them as our own memories and processes of remembering.
Excerpted from Photography, Music and Memory: Pieces of the Past in Everyday Life by Michael Pickering and Emily Keightley. Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.