Shaina Suri

The Family Archive

Class of: 2023

Major: Communication Design BFA

Medium: Video and essay

Faculty: Michelle Young Lee and Andrea Marpillero-Colomina

Prompt: Bridge 4: Desktop Video Journals, Documentaries and Other forms of Keeping a Diary Desktop Documentaries are a form of video essay making that actively incorporates the process of screen capture recording, online research, original footage, and desktop production. The format embraces the computer desktop as a kind of collage board from which a filmmaker's desktop activities are recorded and edited to illustrate and support the tenets of their essay/documentary. For this project, students engage in a month-long investigative research process (with benchmarks along the way), culminating in the production of their documentary (Studio) and an accompanying research paper (Seminar).

While in quarantine, I discovered my family’s archive of photographs and was intrigued by this extensive record of my past. This became the inspiration behind my short desktop-documentary, ‘The Family Archive’. The video explores the importance of photography in our personal lives, in relation to concepts of identity and memory. Using the desktop-documentary format allowed me to showcase my research process within the video while also exhibiting my findings within the collection of photographs dating all the way back to my grandparents’ wedding 50 years ago. Through an analysis of the aforementioned archive, interviews with her father and grandmother, and other external sources such as Susan Sontag’s book, ‘On Photography’ I built an argument regarding the ubiquity and significance of photography in a personal context.