Fugue
Project info

These photographs are part of a larger series made during 2020. Titled Fugue, the work draws on mothering as a central theme, and is driven by my need to explore and respond to the fundamental themes of intimacy and distance that have been brought to the fore through lockdown and Covid 19. In making work about this time, I draw on a radius of about 50 metres, 4 people, and a handful of streets. I am privileged to be able to do so. My home and my camera have offered places of refuge and safety. The uncertainty and anxiety of Covid, the staggering loss it has brought, are set against the personal grief of losing my mother, coming to terms with being a mother myself, and the struggle to understand what that means.

The pictures in Fugue meander, moving back and forth through the universal signs of routine, love and care that bear witness to family life. Chronological time, normally linear and clear, is suspended. It merges with emotional duration, more scattered, circular in nature. The work mirrors the non-linear evergreen of a three year old’s consciousness, present in every tense.

Intimacy and distance are key. Photographs made at home are offset with photographs made outside at night, tapping into the dissonance between domestic tranquillity and a sense of invisible unease. Confronted with so much that is explicitly out of bounds – people, touch, movement, the ‘normality’ of everyday life – another, more shrouded exile, is exposed. In such close, sometimes blissful, sometimes painful proximity to my children, I am aware of all that remains unknown between us. We are fused and separate, present and absent, elusive. I work on film, so the process too is blind and unknown – like the context, an invisible virus, marked by inaccessibility and intangibility.

The longing to be part of other lives, when physical touch has been forbidden, serves as catalyst, so that the act of photographing outside provides moments of connection. The perfect spring blossoms, the windows, the empty playgrounds articulate a psychological suspension in which both joy and fear oscillate. Photography’s ability to hold what is significant – darkness and light, void and presence – weaves kinship through the enforced distance.