The idea for this photo came from a strange place. Lisa Castanger’s Hidden in Plain Sight series of images of babies in the arms of adults hidden under cloth covers stuck me for several reasons (2014). Firstly the images speak to the often invisibility of mums. For example, I have very few family photos with mum in them as she always too the photo. But it was the simultaneous inclusion with a denial of personality that I found interesting. I could garner very little about the adult in the images and needed to refer to the accompanying text to make sense of what I was seeing.
That led to a train of though about photos that show and omit or deny people identities or personalities and I thought about the armed services practice of having a photo of the new recruit squads on a wall but as recruits fall by the wayside they are blacked out from the image – present but not present.
Then I looked up from where I sit at my little photo wall and thought about those who are present in the images but no longer alive. Mum, Audrey, Bill and Gary. So I removed took a photo of the wall and then removed their likenesses from it to reflect their simultaneous presence and absence.
Castenger L. and Grant C., Hidden Self Portraits, Source Magazine in Source: The Photographic Review Issue 79 Who is the Photographer?, Published by Photoworks North