The motivations that drive my practise.

In thinking about how to move forward with this investigative process, I thought it time to think about whats driving this project, my motivations, what makes me want to dig deeper and what it is that I am trying to find, or perhaps understand?

Some initial ideas that have come to mind....

Defining my family through the photographic image- What is the benefit of definition? Growing up with my grandparents adds a slightly different narrative than to a dare I say it ‘conventional’ family dynamic. Whilst thinking about the reason for investigating my family, I wanted to also think about when my interest in this subject started. It was Jo Spence and Anette Khun that started out my interest in this notion of “Family” within photography.

Family - It changes and develops over time. The images produced as well as the methods of image making also change with them. In my case, as I was entering into my photographic journey aged just 15 years old, 9/11 happened which took my teen years in a very different direction which I wouldn’t want to have records of nor did I record through the lens of my camera at the time. In some ways this idea of recording or re-recording my familial space is a way of making up for almost 10 years of non-making.

The constructed visual family world - This idea that the ‘family’ you see in the photographs on the wall and on the mantle piece are the family that everyone aspires to be. I have realised through this investigation that I don’t appear in a classical family photograph as do my mum and auntie when they were young. The photo I am thinking of in particular is the family photograph I found on the wall of my grandfathers study. It shows him and Sue my grandmother and then Sarah my Auntie and my mum. Whilst having conversations about the photographs with my mum I learnt that her and my sister really didn’t get along at that time yet in the image they looked like the best of friends. This shows that the image we see is in someways a facade for the perfect family look.

Sahika Erkonan posits that Photography reshapes the family? - Does it? How? This is something I am going to think about further int he coming weeks.

The cabinet of Curiosities it was later called is in fact my starting point fo this investigation 2 years ago.

Is this act of photographing in fact to preserve the already preserved? My grandmother placed and arranged these items under the glass cabinet lid as a personal exhibition. Each item being placed and arranged and then moved and rearranged over time. But what am I adding to this ‘exhibition’?

Is Photography a silent medium?

The photographs aid communication, so to answer the above question, Photography maybe a silent medium in its mechanical process, however the aftermath of photography is communication, Dialogue, Opinion and debate.

Two further ideas to think about…

Stories of a shared past (Anette Khun, 1999) -

Reworking the narrative in my own visual language?

Working with more archival images

I’ve come across another photograph of my great grandfather when he was a child. I was interested to find that it was already printed onto a postcard, something I hadn’t really thought was done with home portrait photographs. This shows that it was probably taken in a professional photographers studio. I wanted to have a look at the history of the picture postcard and came across the last in a series of articles on the Science and Media Museum Blog.

Although picture postcards first appeared in the 1890s, it wasn’t until very early in the 20th century that the format was used for commercial portraiture. -

Great Grandfather (PHILIPS).jpg

I’m starting to wonder what I am supposed to be doing with these images, as what has really been highlighted recently is that this investigation is more about the act of investigating and finding out stories from my family rather than the actual images themselves. I need to think about how I am to inject my own personality into this archived body of work.

Starting with a bit of marketing

I thought I would start getting a bit of email interest up about my project by adding an image from the work in progress project to my email signature. I am in contact with a few commissioning picture editors at the moment so thought it would be good for them to se that I am working on personal projects as well as commissions.

Screen shot from email signature.

Screen shot from email signature.

The 'portable' image.

This new work by Thomas Albdorf made me think about how we use, and digest imagery. This folded work looks as if it could have been folded up and put in your pocket. This being the best way to spend time with an image is to have it with you all the time as we do with family photographs in our wallets. A keepsake to have with us all the time.


Whilst thinking about this “portable” image I realised that I don’t have a physical photograph in my wallet anymore, but have a photograph of Olivia my girlfriend and Emily my sister on my screensaver on my phone. Another way that the digital image is becoming more and more intertwined into our daily existence.

Stripping the image back to its bare pixels

I’m interested in thinking about the duration of an image and where the image comes from. This sure enough was a photograph that I have digitised and done some repair work to. However, I wanted to see what it looked like as the individual pixels its made up from. The image on the right hand side is just that. A stripped back to 12x8.5 Pixels squared. A contrast of the new from the old and the analog to the digital.

WIP: Great Great Grandfather on the Philips side.

WIP: Great Great Grandfather on the Philips side.

WIP: Great Great Grandfather on the Philips side stripped back to its bare 12x8.5 pixels squared.

WIP: Great Great Grandfather on the Philips side stripped back to its bare 12x8.5 pixels squared.

Items 1 and 2_2.jpg

I thought I would play around with size and grouping these images rather than having them all separate. They have a real closeness whilst in the cabinet at my grandparents and so I want them to continue to have this closeness whilst on the wall of the gallery space.



Thinking about the passion my grandmother has for antiques, and how these things have all been kept so preciously in an antique cabinet. I’m thinking about using some kind of numbering system on all the images as if part of an antique auction. Perhaps using these numbers in a guide for exhibition visitors and perhaps for a list at the back of the book.

Project Development: 1


Ive been spending some tie with these images recently to see what jumps out at me and what it is that I find so special about my family archive. I remembered the super 8 film stills I took of the television whilst playing ym grandparents super 8 video and in particular I found myself staring at the distortion of the picture, and the RGB distortion. It creates a new images, one that appears to be in a contemporary setting and shows the sign of the digital hand. Its quite amazing that this duration of time captured on super 8 by a close fiend has gone form one state to another and finally ended up being rephotographed again at the end.


I recreated this distortion on the photograph of my great grandfather in a more controlled setting than the distortion from the super 8 video.

This if viewed with a pair of 3D glasses gives the illusion of a more present image. An image from a private archive of someone who is no longer alive made public, larger and more ‘alive’ adds something to the conversation about making my private archive physically public.