One blog post down my first one ended up in the “me” category as it was generally a look at what I’d been up to and some images from a couple of photo walks, so I thought I may as well carry on and do a general update about my projects as the “photography” category will be for my professional work and ideas.
So since I’ve recently moved house and city I wanted to talk about an ongoing project that I started a couple of years ago documenting my surroundings as I moved each year whilst at university, I was interested to see where everything would go in each house, what possessions came with me, where they were placed and what I felt was important to have in my immediate surrounds, not tucked away in a box. As I’m coming to the end of this project I can safely say it varied from year to year, sometimes due to the size of my dinky student room.
This all stemmed from a documentary project I started about my Grandmother and her move from her home to a nursing home. Again, I looked at what initially went with her, where it was placed, what was left behind, what her house looked like when she left and her new bedroom in comparison. Honestly, it was a bit weird to see her house and her left over possessions placed somewhere to replace an item that had gone with her, it didn’t look right, it wasn’t really her house anymore and it saddened me as I could still remember what it looked like when I was a child spending a few weeks per summer there.
Her new room is a lot better now than what it was. I think it was important, especially to my Mother, to make her new surroundings feel as homely as possible, with some old objects, photo albums and new cuddly toys bought for her every so often.
Thinking back, Mari Mahr was a big influence for this project:
There were a few other names I looked at but I can’t remember them right now.. I may go away and research this project on my hard drive then come back to it..
Either way, my surroundings projects will be released in a few weeks and it ties in with a couple of other documentary projects I did whilst I was at home for a few months after University, which consisted of my memory box project and my “routes” projects which you can find on my flickr. At the time, I was a little obsessed with documenting everything- my thoughts, my room and everything in it, my walks, old haunts, and I think this was due to the fact that I knew I was leaving home so I wanted to get it all down, but I did start to document desperately at one point- staying up at night to write down things to photograph (it didn’t help that my room now had aalll of my old books and toys in it) and staying up to capture perfectly the refections the windows made on the wall and the pattern the rain drops made, I just wanted everything to be recorded, all the little details. I can safely say I’m not that bad anymore but I still understand this urge to reserve the past, to record everything as it was and as it is now.