I have recently graduated from the University of Brighton in Photography, where I received a first. For my final major project I looked at my own family and their relationship with our Jewish Heritage. The project (03.XII.1924 von Dienen Eltern) is an uncompromising excavation of my family's history, in familiar and unfamiliar spaces, made through dialogues, performances (sittings) and 'encounters' with documents and objects, uncovering the complexities of remembering and forgetting.
While the degree show was on I received an email from Grace Robertson who had visited the degree show on that day:
"Among so much that was well done your work stood out in a class of its own. You wept in your own defining image, but sentimentality was absent when it would have been all to easy to fall into that trap and the work was far more powerful as a result. But above all, those memories were held together by the excellence of your photography. Every interior image and its history gave me a deepened experience through your handling of light and shadow; and the hands images came across with complete authority.
I do hope you intend to go on using such empathy and talent on people."
These last two images emerged by looking outward again and trying to find answers for our existence. For me these images are a clarity for me, after finding out about my cousins death I was unsure how to react. So, I moved my emotions to one side and let my subconscious drive my creativity without me knowing it at the time. This projected started with an introverted boy and has ended with my own reflection.
It seems to me that so much of what I discovered is down to the choices we make and are faced with continually. My sadness at the loss of life, the responses we make when faced with challenges around us, who we ultimately end up being, how we perceive ourselves. These are universal.
If, as suggested by some physicists, there are an infinite number of universes and therefore and infinite number of choices, it is inevitable that we will make these decisions that will bring us to the place that we inhabit now.
In response to this idea i have chosen to call this project ‘Inevitable’. It is after all, all about the choices we make.
This series of images are carried on from my previous set of photographs.
After looking at Gunter Brus’ work, in which he self paints. I was inspired to try out a similar process. However, my model is very calm so my images do not portray the same darkness in which Brus is able to convey. However, this is not an issue as it reflects the sitters identity.
In contrast to the previous photos I asked my sitter to smear black face paint over the top of the white and let it carry on, onto his clothes. These photos show a development in confidence, between myself and him. These images are more bold and striking as he becomes more confident in front of the lens.
These images are me reflecting on the idea of hiding your true identity. I chose this specific sitter as he is very modest and quiet and the only way in which I was allowed to photograph him was if his face was covered.
What I found interesting is that there is only a thin layer of face paint between him and the viewer, yet it allows him to feel at ease with the camera.
I decided to make him pale and washed out so that he would almost go unseen as he stands in front of a white backdrop. This possibly echoes his personality as he explains how he sits and listens to people most of the time, and understands what is happening around him rather than being the ‘loud’ one in his social circle.
Inspired by Growth and Evolution I wondered what it would be like to be emotionally stuck in the past. I chose a character who is stuck in time and is unable to move on. She is not allowing herself to grow and evolve into the future. So here I constructed wax shoulders to place on my model as if she had been stuck in time.