The notion of this narrative is one of reflection, looking back and assessing. The two main portraits are deliberately posed behind glass, the reflection in the glass was designed to add a layer to the image, a patina of thought, impossible to denote for the viewer, but adding a thin veil. I was lucky to have a kind of chiaroscuro light to help frame the subject in the image, my mother.
I wanted the opening image of my mother to be frontal, open to the viewer, but not connecting, looking away in a reflective pose; initially I wanted the window open to remove any distance between the viewer and the subject. However I feel that the additional interference of the reflection brings a tension that adds to the narrative. My concept then was to take my mother to all of the significant places in her home town. Arriving at Bedford train station after her wedding, she lived for a very short time at 72 Kimbolton Road, a bed-sit on the first floor until her twins were born. Bedford North Wing was the maternity hospital, where I was born, and where two of my sisters were born – and incidentally where my two sons were born. After a short while my parents moved to a brand new council house in Bamford Road. Five years later, and two more children later a move to a slightly larger three bedroom house at 20 Duchess Road. Mother now lives at 40 Hindburn.
The process was quite simple I asked her to stand in front of the house and I photographed her regarding the former home. For both of us I suspect there were a lot of memories, we spoke a lot about my father of course but also of my sisters and my brother – their partners, their children. Where they are, what they are doing. The reason to have my mother looking away from the lens was to bring the notion of looking back directly to the frame, though I do have one image at the cemetery with her face on, though not to the camera; this pose serves another purpose. I’m not sure about how the narrative should start, at the moment I like the notion of bookending with the two portraits, each facing into the narrative, containing the story held between them.
I think both of the portraits work well for the purpose I intended, the first image is reflective/pensive, looking out. The last one has more content, with the reflections, seemingly, for me at any rate, to suggest what might be going on between the first image and the last, private thoughts maybe….
I’ll think about it some more. The session went quite well I think.