All the things unsaid explores a personal narrative of family, grief and identity through the process of photography. Through photographing blood relatives, domestic animals and landscapes, the work serves as an ongoing document toward understanding of personal identity. The still lives and landscape create visual metaphors for the emotional state of loneliness and searching. In addition to the portraits of my mother and brother ( the past) images of my husband and beloved animals ( the present) combine with landscapes which hold significant meaning in my personal history( the eternal). The images form the content of a Photobook, the object delicate and fragile demanding a slow and intimate reading from the viewer.

This work began as an exploration of my family but became a documentation of my own reckoning as I gave myself permission for the first time to interrogate my sense of self through photography. As the work has evolved it has become a diary of the longest ongoing period of depression of my adult life. As the work has unfolded it became a direct window to my psychie, each image a frame into the sadness and intertia of my mind. Moving away from the city I had hoped to cure myself with space and air. Making images as I walked through the forest I thought I had given myself more room to breath. I was in fact suffocating in beauty.

The portraits are of my estranged family, using a large format to emphasise the significance of these interactions- each image takes time and concentration and an enforced contemplation. The still lives and landscapes are seemingly inconsequential moments that are embedded with personal meanings and create visual metaphors for the emotional state of loneliness and searching. Photographing my family, from whom I have spent a decade estranged, my mother, brother, niece and nephew pose for my camera, each unsure of me and my intentions, yet somehow allowing my presence. Between them sit photos of my animals and my husband, moments of gentle intimacy amplified by their vulnerability towards my gaze.

John Locke’s Memory Theory of Personal Identity guides the work as it states that in forgetting “our consciousness being interrupted, and we losing sight of our past selves, doubts are raised whether we are the same thinking thing”[1] (Locke, book ii chapter 27) It is within this interruption of consciousness, (that is, forgetting) that photography forms an integral connection with the past. To be photographed is to declare presence, evidence of what has been. The photograph may not be relied on as a factual piece of truth, however what was photographed has invariably existed.   

Roland Bathes in Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography defined the punctum of the image as ‘that accident which pricks, bruises me.’ (Barthes, 26-27)[1]. This work aims to find that bruise and push it.   [1] Locke, John, and John W. Yolton. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. London: Dent, 1993. [2] Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.

Using Format