A Day with my parents.
My first image is from the start of the day. I had just woken up and opened the blinds. I felt that the natural light coming through the nearby window would suit an early morning image. I set the camera up on a tripod and used a remote trigger to capture the image. I am not a person that leaps out of bed at first light to embrace the morning and normally drag myself begrudgingly into life. I framed the image in such a way that the area looked quite bleak with grey walls to reflect my mood but just enough furniture to appear like a home location. Inspiration : Nan Goldin.
My first port of call is the shower, this generally wakes me up and begins to prepare me for the day. Once I was finished I wiped the bathroom mirror with my hand so I could see my reflection. I quite liked the feel to this moment and got my camera. Taking this image I held the camera out to my right and took the shot blind. This was the result of the third or fourth image. I like the odd angle, the odd art work on the wall and that there is just enough reflection in the mirror visible for the image to make sense. Inspiration: Nan Goldin
This third image was perhaps unneccessary but I wanted to explore the idea of intimacy further. I had just come back to the bedroom and replaced my camera back on the tripod that was left from the earlier shot. I chose not to include all of me in the image as I wanted to express that this is just part of me and that this is not how I would normally wish to be seen let alone photographed. Inspiration: Elinor Carucci
This next image was after getting dressed and before heading off to start my day properly I examined my appearance in the mirror. Before I did I placed the camera on the right side of me, balanced on a chest of draws. Using a remote trigger I took the shot of my reflection. The image is not quite sharp and there is a grainy feel that I believe adds to the image. I also like the fact that I am not smiling and that due to the camera angle that only part of me can be seen. I look serious and unhappy and although that is not how I was feeling I liked the mood it gives the image. Inspiration: Nan Goldin
The first order of the day is breakfast and a cup of tea. My parents who were already up had made tea so we went and sat in their conservatory. The light is always quite good here as there are plenty of blinds to diffuse the bright sunshine. I chose to carry my camera with me throughout the day so I had the best chance of documenting as much as possible. My father who takes a lot of enjoyment from watching the birds in his garden had become distracted and so I took the opportunity to get a picture. I like the way that he has completely forgotten about the camera and is lost in his own thoughts. Inspiration: Elinor Carucci
Whilst we were drinking tea my mum came in and put her feet up on the sofa. She had been complaining about her foot hurting a lot after she trapped it under a door and she was quite sure it was broken. She had taken to strapping it up using bandages and plasters. I was thinking about the image in Elinor Carucci’s ‘Closer’ of the stitched up finger when I took this and I was pleased with the composition. I liked the detail in the feet and I particularly liked the small silver ornament in the background that seems to be looking at the feet. Inspiration: Elinor Carucci
After breakfast my parents were undergoing some DIY in the house and this involved the moving of furniture. Naturally I helped out but I did take the opportunity to take a picture. Already the camera was becoming a secondary issue and they had begun to ignore it and this reminded me of how Nan Goldin photographed her friends so much they stopped noting the camera. Here they are busy concentrating on what they are doing and paying little attention to me at all and watching them work this way made me think of Richard BIllingham’s images of his parents engaged in everyday mundane activities. Inspiration: Nan Goldin & Richard Billingham
The next four images were all taken in the garden and were mostly about me experimenting with different techniques and styles to see how they would look. During the review with Matt Johnston he felt that they were perhaps unneccessary and did not overly contribute to the body of work as a whole. On reflection I had to agree and although I like the images compositionally they are all very similar. When I was taking these images I was once again thinking of Richard Billingham and also of some images I had seen by Richard Avedon. Inspiration: Richard Billingham
Out of all the images I had taken in the garden I thought this was the strongest and was worthy of inclusion. It was late afternoon and the sun was setting on the day and we were all helping out, or rather I was photographing them working. I asked my father to stand there just for a second and I quickly framed and took the shot. I was really pleased with the outcome and I felt the Depth of Field was just enough to see what was going on the in background and that the low sun told the viewer that it was just before sunset. I also really liked the expression on my fathers face, he looked so fed up with taking in the washing and would have been much happier elsewhere. Inspiration: Richard Billingham
These next two images were a complete change from what I had been doing and they stem from an article I read in the book by Charlotte Cotton ‘ The Photograph as Contemporary Art’. It talked about a photographer called Thomas Ruff who wanted to explore intimacy through faces, however he wanted these faces to have a complete lack of emotion. When taken this way you have to read the person through other facial features, clothing and physiognomy traits. That level of scrutiny is quite personal and you can feel quite intrusive. I really liked both the two images, I felt my parents faces had real character and it was not something I had really noticed before taking these photos. Inspiration: Thomas Ruff
It was now early evening and we had sat down for dinner. Once again Richard Billingham came to mind as I remember he took a picture of his parents sat on a sofa eating dinner. I felt meal times are quite personal and people can feel self-conscious if they think they are being watched. I took this before sitting down my self and I do like the casual way the image has come out. Once again it reminds of Nan Golding and the fact that the people in the image just don’t care about the camera and they are getting on with the meal. Normally photos taken at the dinner table are of people on a night so they are dressed up, here everyone is very casual, right down to the apron still round my mums neck. One last part of the image I also thought came out well was the photo of my Nephew on the shelf on the left side who seems to be watching me take the photo.
After Dinner I cleaned up and my parents went to watch some TV. My mum is normally constantly busy throughout the day, always on the go finding things to do but in the evening she likes to rest. Despite having more furniture my parents always tend to sit in the same seats and my mum likes to curl up on the chair as in the above image. I noticed this and thought it was quite a tender and personal moment so I took this without them noticing. Inspiration: Nan Goldin & Richard Billingham
There was a big football game on that evening between my team and my dads team. My mum hates football so we were banished to watch the match in another room. The TV was not set up so I went to arrange it. The TV was in the room I was staying in and the desktop area had become full of my stuff that I had dropped on there since I had come to stay and it had built up into a mess. I remembered Elinor Carucci’s work and that sometimes she photographed objects or items that were personal to her family. I decided to try something similar and took the general clutter I had left. Inspiration: Elinor Carucci
There were no seat to sit on so we had to make do with the bed. Once the football was underway my thoughts turned to another of Elinor Carucci’s images of her sat on the bed with members of her family. I wanted to try the same thing so I placed my camera on a tripod just under the TV and used a remote trigger to take the photo. One of the things that struck me about this image was my size in comparison to my dad. I never realised I was now that much bigger than him and that old age has changed him so much. It also struck me that this is one of only a very few photos that we have together. As a result it began to feel very personal to me. My team also won the football 4-2. Inspiration: Elinor Carucci
This next image was another that was completely out of context with the others and this was another experimental image that I wanted to try. I had been looking at the work by an artist called Gregory Crewdson and his images are strangely unique and have a painterly effect that can seem like high dynamic range. Crewdson though has a huge team of people and a multitude of lighting rigs and purpose-built sets with actors/models. Trying to recreate anything like he does would have been impossible so I opted for a straight HDR but I took it a bit further by making a series of HDR images and then combining them into a panoramic view. I took seven images for each part of the HDR’s and there were 5 sections in total. After processing each section I used Photoshop to stitch them together. Once they were all done I was really pleased with the effect. Ultimately it was as I expected and it did not look quite like Crewdsons work but I was pleased with the result. I called the image night face as my mum goes through an entire routine of removing the makeup and skin additives used during the day and then replacing them with another set for the night. All this takes time and my dad just sits on the end of the bed thinking about things in general. I really liked this contrast between the two of them and I think it works in that the way the viewer gets to see what is happening in two rooms at one time. Inspiration: Gregory Crewdson
My final picture of the day shows me ready for bed. I do not really have a set routine but I do like to have at least one book on the go, although there is usually 3 or 4. I used the same technique that I did for the image with my dad watching the football. Just before going to bed is anther intimate moment and normally only shared by those you are close to, particularly things like bedtime routines. Once more I was thinking of Elinor Carucci when I made this as she took many images in the bedroom . Inspiration: Elinor Carucci