As part of an on going exploration of the relation between Life, Death and Photography, Andrew photographed the partially cleared home of his late grandparents.
The exploration, in this case, sought to document areas that trigger personal memories. From the living room where the whole family would cram in to for Christmas present opening to the chair the cousins would fight over.
Further to these personal memories come elements which all of us can connect with on a level. The difference between a worn carpet compared to where the bed once stood. The decay as part of a house which was a struggle to keep. The garden which was once a center of great pride, sitting unloved and rotting.
During my thoughts and explorations on the subject of Life and Death I have often thought of hospitals and the role they of course play. Every day people breath their last breath while someone else somewhere is breathing their first.
Over four years ago on the death of my grandmother I couldn’t help but visualise what a beautiful image that scene would have made. The lights were off, only the soft natural light of the evening coming through the window was present. She was laying in the same position I had visited her in only 30 minutes before when she was still alive and had made eye contact with me.
What a beautiful photograph this scene would have made, I didn’t capture it through the knowledge that it would get a mixed response from family members. This lead to the time surrounding the arrival of our new daughter, an empty single room in the hospital was just asking to be photographed, so I did. The interesting thing being that this particular room was in the same part of the hospital that my grandmother had passed away in and a similar position only three floors lower.
The revolving door of life sees time begin and time end, often only meters apart from each other.
There is another element to this story as our new daughter bares the name of my late grandmother ‘Alice’, a deliberate tribute to a strong, very wise and sorely missed women (pictured below meeting my eldest daughter Cleo 7 years ago).
A couple of years ago I began a thought process surround the relationship between Life, Death and Photography and began gathering various images to supplement my thoughts and feelings surrounding it.
Photography has a responsibility to show, wherever possible, the truth. To throw off the rose tinted glasses and to show the world in all its glory, even if that glory is something many do not wish to see.
In the past 24 hours my family have seen the safe arrival of mine and my partners new daughter. Alice entered this world at 11.24pm on the 11th of August 2016 and I had my camera of course.
It’s always important to get those precious moments, those first cuddles and the first meetings with grandparents, but what about the first breaths? Anyone who has seen or experienced birth knows that it is a messy business but one that can be very humbling indeed. In my images captured during the birth of my daughter I wanted to show as much of birth as I could ‘warts ‘n’ all’.
This blog post will be one of several studying this area of anthropology however I must warn the reader at this point that some of the images are graphic. For this post I will leave it at this one image, taken just seconds after my daughter breathed her first breath. My pursuit is in search of that honest document of Life and Death and its relationship with Photography.
Along the themes of memory and preservation of history, this set of images are of the Air Training Corps squadron local to me in Portsmouth.
1189 Squadron was a very large part of my life for over 5 years where I was an Air Cadet. I hold my time there responsible for many of the attributes I carry with me today as an adult and feel they made me the man I am today.
These aspects included; self respect, time management, confidence, abilities to handle pressure and presentation abilities. This is amongst very simple things such as how to iron a shirt or a pair of trousers or how to polish a pair of shoes to the point of seeing your face.
I recently learned that, in early 2016, the unit will be leaving the building they’ve occupied for over 15 years. While this is sad for what the building stands for I am relieved that they get to continue doing the great work they do with many more generations.
To the unaware a lot of the images won’t mean anything at all but to those who have passed through here over the years they mean everything. Whether it’s something as simple as the kitchen sink where I remember spending many a shift as ‘duty cadet’ washing up or the band store with instruments that have been used by literally multiple generations.
1189 Squadron lives on and are recruiting all the time for cadets and staff so please do find out more or simply ask for more information.