I visited dad today. He isn’t greatly well because of age mostly (okay heart failure, etc., but old age really) and so spent the day in bed while we chatted.


We covered all sorts of topics: from the Grenadier Guards in Malaya in 1948 to yesterday’s budget.

He, and we, moved into this house in 1963 when dad was aged 35 and now 52 years later he is still there. A lot has changed. For example, when I lived at home there was no central heating, a coal fire in the dining room and dad was always at work. But in other ways nothing has changed. We’ve always talked money and politics and still do to this day. As dad chatted I took this photo. I then reflected on it and some of the comments from the recent symposium about my work.

My intension here was to capture dad in realistic documentary fashion while also creating an interesting form with the elements in the picture. So lines are straight, the clutter in the room given structure and form by my framing. The colours are saturated a little. The shutter is slow at 1/6th and so dad’s face isn’t sharp as a pin but the light has been kept natural. Hopefully the image works as both a pictorial composition and discourse about age and decline.

I also took another image – see below.


This shows dad’s face more clearly and has a strong diagonal shape to it but offers less in terms of an exposition of his situation.

Does either image show emotion? I am not sure. Sometimes I think my 37 years as a wheelchair user as knocked a lot of sentiment out of me (I mean shit happens, so don’t dwell on it, but just get on). Thus while I feel things intensely I do not tend to show or express these feelings as my inward sadness can drive people away. So when in public I tend to perform as the happy guy. Is this what people were seeing in my imagery?

What do these images evoke in you?


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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4 Responses to Reflections

  1. sarahlsnaps says:

    I see comfort in these photographs. He is wrapped up, looked after, comfortable. The plumped up pillows and white sheets with flowers represent freshness and care. The formal lines represent a house in order. I see a man who is loved and by the softness you have captured, especially of his face, shows it has been taken by someone who loves him. The wider view above has more of a documentary feel. Encapsulating the whole room rather than just the immediate (facial) emotion.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. backtowhatever says:

    Exactly the same here. I see love winning over pain, comfort and harmony.


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