Exhibition plan: To be ultra local with the exhibition space being the parcel shelves of cars parked on my own street.
Why the backs of cars?
First, it is a means of display that combines viewers being outside and to socially distance whilst also protecting the prints.
Second, it is in keeping with the theme. When my mother left my father and I, we packed up all of our belongings into the back of a car and headed first to North Yorkshire, then to various places in Leeds and then down to the Isle of Wight. The surface of the exhibition chimes with the project.
Aim: To develop relationships with my immediate community through collaborative staging. But also to allow a difficult part of my own personal history to be knowable to those around me. Covid-19 has forced my work inwards.
Originally I wanted to look outwards towards the lone fathers out there. Lack of access has turned my work inwards into my own personal history of childhood, from which the current work is emerging.
Sarker Protick’s observation in his own photographs of his dying mother that “sometimes the experience of photography gives you more than just photographs (1),” feels searingly relevant to my own work at the moment in that I am learning a good deal about myself and the significance and interconnections of long-submerged memories.
Andrew Jackson’s latest work in Source, taken from his ongoing project called From Whence We Came, speaks of his visiting his mother’s homeland of Jamaica. It raises, as Jackson explained at the launch of Source 101, key issues surrounding belonging, of stories not discussed/not being made and of personal exile and difference. His ability to take images of seemingly very simple scenes (the sea, for example) and imbue them with intense sharable personal meaning is something I am very keen to explore in my latest work. (2)
I had previously only encountered Philip Toledano’s work on relating to his dying father. But since starting my own work on Brave Faces I have found his project When I Was Six. Although in many ways very different, I feel a striking affinity between some of his images and my own in that that seemingly simple objects become monumental, singular, portals simultaneously loaded with not enough and then almost too much memory (3)
Tasks for the next six weeks:
I have four more planned shoots – two still lives, two story book images.
Select and contact street residents who tend to park front inwards (I need the rears of their cars to be visible!) and discuss whether they would mind hosting an image for seven days on their parcels shelf.
I need nine or ten willing to display and then choose 11 or 12 images which capture the essence of the current story. People’s holidays may factor into the date setting for the exhibition.
Set a date.
Print images in accordance with the space of each parcel shelf in mind
Create a trifold leaflet about the street exhibition and deliver to everybody in the street. This can be prepared without an exhibition date, and be delivered to residents on the Friday before the exhibition to tell them what to look out for.
I hope the exhibition will be fun for those involved and encourage communication between those in our street who perhaps have not spoken before. I hope it arouses curiosity about the work, and an interest in photography generally. I hope it gets people out of their homes and walking more!