Final Major Project Proposal: Other Mothers

My Final Major Project, Other Mothers, explores non-biological maternality, the mothering of a child who is not the mother’s own, whether through birth or adoption (1). It will hold a tension between issues of loss, abandonment and displacement on the one hand, and bonding, belonging and healing on the other. The project’s epicentre will be […]

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Photography and the strange world of ‘art’

“Museums and galleries are not neutral containers offering a transparent, unmediated experience of art,” writes Emma Barker in Contemporary Cultures of Display. She is, of course, quite right. Curators, critics and other opinion influencers, including collectors and artists themselves, not only play leading roles in deciding what is worthy of wall (or floor) space but […]

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Does seeing photographs of suffering deaden the conscience?

Photojournalism of the most pressing and distressing events of our times is frequently rounded upon by photography’s best-known critical thinkers. We have Susan Sontag attacking photography in general: The camera doesn’t rape, or even possess, though it may presume, intrude, trespass, distort, exploit, and, at the farthest reach of metaphor, assassinate – all activities that, […]

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Responsibility and Representation: The Photographer or Photography

Perhaps I would say this as a history graduate, but I firmly believe historical study provides the best, if often imperfect, means of understanding the past. Based nearly always (I’m excepting micro-histories here) on multiple sources – primary, secondary and historiographical – historical studies move towards an ever more refined and relevant understanding of what […]

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Fictions and fact and the facts of fictions

I’m fascinated by the work of Caroline Furneaux, especially The Mothers I Might Have Had. Furneaux’s project stems from found images of her father’s previous (before her mother) girlfriends and is a whistle stop tour of fantasy and imaginings sprinkled with a healthy dash of voyeurism and play. Her gaze across the images is playful […]

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Narratives and databases and the weaving of meaning

I love narrative, I love story-telling. But in my current project Other Mothers I am facing a fresh challenge: A newly formed archive of atomised images drawn from other archives (family albums) both from within my own family and from outside. Each ‘mother’ has a file, in which potentially suitable images for project work are […]

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‘Photographs: Silence, absence and contradiction’

Photographs, says Annette Kuhn in Family Secrets, are “evidence”. “Not that they are to be taken only at face value,” says Kuhn, “nor that they mirror the real, nor even that a photograph offers any self-evident relationship between itself and what it shows. “Simply that a photograph can be material for interpretation – evidence in […]

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Is there anything ‘peculiar’ about my practise?

Much has been said during the week about a photograph’s relationship to reality, and what it ‘says’ about the world, whether and how what is said might be ‘trusted’ or ‘authentic’ and how a photograph’s iconicism or indexicality might shift over time. My own current work is largely autobiographical and involves feelings and happenings that […]

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Karl Ohiri and the repurposing of once private album images

I’ve begun an excavation of sorts. The ground to be dug is a growing mound of images from family albums, including my own. The work is part of a project with the working title ‘Other Mothers’ in which I’m attempting to…(honour? Declare love?) I’m not quite sure yet, but something, towards those incredible women from my […]

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‘Other Mothers’ : Forging a Visual Strategy with inspiration from Paul Sepuya

Towards the end of the previous Sustainable Prospects module I had the growing impulse that the next stage of evolving my project lay in my ‘other mothers’. I want to explore my relationships with those incredible women in my life who, following my abandonment by own biological mother, have loved me, nurtured me and deeply […]

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