“…Always trying to get out of the book, trying to get closer to the moment, and always floating farther from it, slamming myself up against the fact that writing, even the best writing, invariably suppresses and displaces the greater and more intimate part of any experience it seeks to express. Ultimately I would be forced to admit that all the volumes of Proust were nothing, qualitatively compared to the twenty minute experience of eating breakfast on a spring morning at a Denny’s in Mobile.” Hickey D (1997) Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy. Los Angeles: Art Issues. Press, 164
I have little of Dave Hickey’s eloquence; I only have a camera. Making a living in journalism, I was stalling with a similar frustration. I found myself unable to show with effect the story behind an image: copies of the world were simply not serving me.
While working with medical charities, I met families that were facing the prospect of losing a child to disease and I discovered that what I wanted to explore was the mesh of relationship that is threatened, exposed under such conditions: the structure of hope, fear, desire and disappointment that hold particular identities in place. And I wanted to see if I could express those as photographic tableaux.
I was forced to introspection, to use myself as source material (and I bless my mother for her archiving ways). I spent hours looking at family snaps – remembering, reminiscing, revising and recreating. Always trying to get out of the photograph, closer to the moment. I now know that the happy child who performed for the family camera was better than, worse than, but someone who was never me.
And so a journey began into a practice that is lens-based and framed within scholarship within a university setting: academic fine art photography