Whilst being in the stage of not being really sure where I want my work to go, I began some brainstorming of Ideas.
Being uncomfortable with what I feel is exploiting Dementia I thought of ways that I could turn the situation around.
John Darwell came into my memory – A black Dog Came Calling. This project was the basis to practice development within his PhD at Sunderland University and it set off some inspiration within myself.
If I am not comfortable exploiting what in my theory is my on guilt and in turn people who cannot give me permission to tell their story – I am very comfortable in turning this project around and pointing it at myself.
These were some of my thoughts.
I wanted to look at combining poetry or text along side my images with representations of feelings in the photographs.
As I am looking at the archive of my own family I was directed to look at Nicky Bird and her project Travelling the Archive (2015-2016). Wendy and I discussed that this would be a great way to start.
Bird’s work showed my techniques that I could use to represent the loss my family still feels in our lives years after the death of my Grandma from Alzheimer’s.
Whilst Bird’s images are composites and also show images from yesteryear displayed to the public in the community they were originally taken in, the images I was creating felt more raw and emotive – Though this is probably because they are my memories.
The images I selected were all treasured family memories, many were from my own house where I still live and this had a big effect. The images had more impact as they featured my Grandma, along with other relatives some of which have also passed away – making it one of the most difficult photography tasks that I have ever carried out.
Like Bird’s work the sites that I visited still resonate and the genealogy links tell a story of not only my past but my family, and the gigantic loss we all felt when we lost of family matriarch.
As with the Family Ties Network, that Bird was involved in I explored the feelings and motivation towards the work I was carrying out.
I feel I wanted to explore Alzheimer’s in a way that respected my Grandma, and in a way that also protected her as when she died she had lost her identity due to the illness so I was very reluctant to share the work as if she no longer knew herself and our family why should I share her identity with those who did not know her. I was adamant and very reluctant as I did not want to exploit vulnerability especially when there was no way to seek permission.
There was also the guilt – when she was alive maybe I didn’t do as much as I should have – even though I was only 15, I should have been more present with her – and this made this piece of work even more difficult and if I shared these images would everyone be able to see that I didn’t do enough? That I should have been a better Grand-Daughter.
This week also came with the news that I no longer have my venue booking for my exhibition due to an administration error and this added to my already over emotional week.
After yesterdays tutorial I have had time to think about what we discussed. In truth I am not sure that the Rephotography in the way that we discussed is the way that I want to go with my work.
I have been reading deeper in to the photography of dementia and the links that can be made ice as one example.
A person is frozen in time with the memories melting away.
Nicola Onions Photographed flowers in ice, in her Memoriam collection. As the type of links to the disease is so fitting I wondered about also using the ice but in a different way. Having an image in ice and watching it melt away hopefully taking with it some of the ink until there is no more and the memory has gone. The bubbles in the ice would also represent moments of lucidity. I have got the sense that this could turn into something really special if explored further and I have to say has peaked me interest.
I also thought if not using an image then it would be something that reminded me of the person that I have lost.
This weekend I went to the Photo North Festival at the Harrogate Convention Centre.
There was several really great exhibitions looking at the social issues of our society. What was really interesting was the Kenny Brown section and the images in the project Cranhill: Images of Place and Memory. Having a similar topic to what I have been considering made it clear what I need to start considering for my own work.
I also had the opportunity to see part of the Invisible Britain Exhibition – it was a buzz seeing the Jenny Lewis image after seeing her at the Falmouth Symposium earlier in the year.
In earlier modules of the MA we covered Jane Hilton and seeing her work All Lit Up in reality it is possible to get up close and see the colours that you cant get full appreciation of from a computer screen.
Well Known Getty Photographer Tom Stoddart had some images on show as part of the Remembrance weekend. It was truly wonderful to get up close to these images and see the beauty of the light. I was also lucky enough to be able to speak to him and discuss his work. I was thrilling to find out he is from my local area and still lives there and he offered me help if I ever needed it with my studies and gave me his contact details. This was truly the highlight of my experience and made it a very worthwhile visit.
This is also an opportunity I intend to follow up.
Professor Green was on BBC Breakfast this morning talking about his latest single Photographs. He has started a social media campaign #WishThatITookMorePhotographsOfUs
This was a really interesting interview to me and also researching the concept behind it afterwards. Talking of loss of a family member and how photographs are so important in terms of memory and our feelings towards this.
It made me think of the family members that I have lost both recently and the ones that Alzheimer’s stole from me.
Perhaps this could lead to a new shift in my work and made me think deeper into the concept behind my work.
Things to Explore:
Images and silhouettes of me and grandma – layered over my memories of the places that mean something to me.
Working title suggestions
Gone but never forgotten – the cruel reality of dementia