Invisibility and blindness

I was reading a discussion on Flickr and someone mentioned the work of Nigel Shafran. I’d not heard of him before but much of immediately resonated with my work on Project 2. For example his Washing Up series examined the domestic vista regarding washing in the kitchen and was close to where I had been with Project 2.

But his series was a typology or sorts showing the same kitchen at different times as well as different kitchens whereas my project was more an exploration of time and place in my home. When I explored more of his work other series appeared closer to my project 2. For example his Dad’s Office was closer. (It was interesting to note his use of one monochrome image in this set – I wonder why?)

These photos were definitely not spectacular.  The subject matter and framing would, I think, mean the casual observer would pass them by. Yet they offered an intensity that I liked because they did what all photos do  in arresting a moment in time but did so on subjects largely ignored by the medium – unless you include the highly stylised versions of marketing photos created by companies. Then I read a little about him and found that such images were indeed seen as an antidote to highly stylised images  as he had previously worked as a photographer in the fashion industry but gave it up as he did not like its values.

Many of his photos reminded me of work by people like Paul Graham and Peter Mitchell, Tom Hunter et. al. and I reminded myself of these by perusing How We Are[1] and low and behold Shafran had a couple of images included in the book. That review reminded me of just how hidden the landscapes I had just shot for Project 2 are as I have not seen one set of images like them and so the “we” in the How We Are clearly doesn’t recognise me in that term. So while the style of photography may have changed since The Family of Man[2] there is still a continuity in failing to see, consider and record disabled peoples circumstances when they fall outside of the very narrow traditional settings they are to be expected to be seen in.

How do I break through this blindness non disabled people have to seeing my world?

While I began this post enjoying and connecting with Shafran’s work I have ended it feeling unconnected and excluded.


[1] V Williams and S Bright, How We Are: Photographing Britain, Published by Tate Publishing 2007

[2] E Steichen, (Ed), The Family of Man, Published by MoMA 1955 (1983 edn)


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
This entry was posted in Project 2: Domestic Landscape and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Invisibility and blindness

  1. Pingback: A photo a day – Nigel Shafran | anomiepete

  2. Pingback: Nigel Shafran | Jason Dimmock 506166 Advanced

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