This is a strange book about a difficult subject: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Yet it is profoundly effective in conveying the confusion, frustration and mystery that permeates the lives of everyone touched by this type of overwhelming psychological condition, including the afflicted and their family members, lovers and friends.

For over a decade, Bron, the mother of photographer Léonie Hampton, found it impossible to empty the packing boxes which had filled her new home since the collapse of her first marriage. The boxes, along with stuffed plastic bags and accumulated artifacts from her former life, were a constant physical reminder to her family of Bron’s long-running battle with OCD and depression.

In 2007, a deal was struck: Hampton would help her mother empty the boxes and organize the house on the condition that she be allowed to document that process. (This in itself presents another sort of compulsive behavior — that driven nature of the photographer herself.)

In the Shadow of Things is the product of the months that Hampton spent with her mother as together they tried to tackle the irrational rituals and behaviors that were dominating her life.

The book combines original photographs with found family images and detailed, annotated transcripts of conversations, arguments and monologues.

— Jim Casper

In the Shadow of Things
by Léonie Hampton
Publisher: Contrasto
Hardcover: 184 pages