Paddy Summerfield: Mother and Father

I really enjoyed to see someone else's response to photographing family for the act of remembering. A really moving story.

“I wanted to hold onto something that was slowly slipping away." - Paddy Summerfield

This goes back to research I have done in the past on a project about the death of my Aunt in 9/11. We photograph to remember. My previous work in progress portfolio was a series of images taken in my grandmothers house as she was taken into hospital for a serious heart operation. This act of memory is a very interesting one as for me it comes subconsciously. It was as if I was quickly making these images so as not to lose them if she hadn't returned form hospital. This area of research reminds me of a book I read years ago and am going to revisit written by Annette Kuhn, titled "Family Secrets, Acts of Memory and Imagination". Kuhn talks about the process of making memory work and how this takes inspiration from the phototherapy work of Jo Spence and Rosy Martin.

...Anyone who has a family photograph that exerts an enigmatic fascination or arouse an inexplicable depth of emotion could find memory work rewarding. In working on my own memory materials, and on photographs especially I have drawn freely on the very useful protocols set out by Rosy Martin and Jo Spence for their phototherapy and family album work.

Although slightly prematurely I guess Summerfield is making his own memory work by documenting this time he had left with his mother battling alzheimer's and then the loss of his father shortly after.

Phototherapy has always been of interest to me and in some way would like to feed it into future personal work but in a more contemporary way whilst developing a style suited to gaining editorial commissions as well as work made for the gallery setting. 


Kuhn, A. (2002). Family secrets. 1st ed. London: Verso, p.7.

British Journal of Photography. (2017). Mother & Father: A Portrait of Loss. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Sep. 2017].