I wrote a piece for the National Galleries of Scotland recently on my experience and thoughts on photographing my own family members. The blog talks about the two series Family and In This Place of which six photographs can be seen at the current exhibition When We Were Young at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It was interesting to reflect on this work and discuss photography, representation and the responsibility we have to others when photographing them.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
I am delighted that six of my photos have been acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland for their collection - two images from 'Family' (1994) and four from 'In This Place' (2016/7). It is a really nice selection from the projects which tells a story across three generations from my family. Weaving its way from my late sister Andrea, through her youngest daughter Chick and onto Chick’s daughter Leah.
Below you can see the selection from the projects made by Anne Lyden, International Photography Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland. Displayed first is Andrea holding a photograph of her children (including Chick) in front of her face back in 1994. An additional photo of the three children, slightly younger, can be seen on the wall behind her. Chick is then shown in the kitchen as a child in 1994 and then nowadays, as an adult, at the back of her flats. The next image shows Chick with her arms around her own daughter Leah. Finally the environment of Leah is pictured: firstly as a portrait of Leah out the back of the flats were she lives and then inside the flat, a photo of her pink room with the broken window. The boarded-up part of the window decorated with felt pen by Leah - to make it more beautiful, to make it fit in with her room, including the words “Leah ♡ Dadd”.
These six images succinctly convey a strand from my family’s story - a story that raises questions on choices in life and the influence of opportunity and environment on that choice.
The photos are included in the current show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery ‘When We Were Young: Photographs of Childhood from the National Galleries of Scotland’ which is on until 13 May 2018.