Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Pondering Personal Histories

I’ve been thinking about how to start my Personal Histories book.

When I went on a solar print workshop a few months ago I used old family photos as the basis for some designs and I want to continue using these as source material for this project

We all have a stash somewhere of old photos, some of relatives and friends we recognise and others who we don’t have a clue about who they are. As time passes they just become faces. We may know their name, if it is written on the back, but we don’t know anything about them.

I also think most families will have a scattering of heroes and villains in amongst the majority of the ordinary people who make up their ancestry. Their stories may have been completely fictionalized in the telling and retelling, or just forgotten over the years.

I want to combine these two ideas, the hidden stories and the almost anonymous figures.
I’ve decided base my images on the children’s rhyme “Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief”. We’ve probably all got some of these amongst our antecedents.

I’m not sure yet what structure to use. You’d think I’d learn from experience and sort this out first. It would avoid a lot of problems further down the road! However, at the moment I’m contemplating a series of unbound images jumbled together in a box/container the same way that the original source photos are kept, although I also quite like the idea of a frieze of dancing dolls.

This is Agnes Hall. I decided to divorce her from Thomas.


  1. Hi Jac,
    this all sounds great. Love the images and your thought processes. Apologies for not commenting sooner. I thought I'd left a comment already, but sometimes if I comment from my iPad it doesn't seem to go through. Hope you are enjoying this strange little piece of time, pre-Christmas and New Year when time seems to have a different rhythm to the rest of the year.

    1. Gald you like them. Its great to have time just to play with images and materials. Hope I can keep up the momentum when term starts again

  2. I love your project too. Deciding the structure first may solve future practical problems but it can also limit your possibilities. I usually feel more comfortable when the structure adapts to the artwork and not the other way around.

    I wonder why you decided to 'divorce' Mrs Hall from her husband. You are giving her a new life, new freedom and probably some new worries too. Looking forward to more.

  3. I divorced her intially just to get a silhouette to play with (I'll post the images when I've photgraphed them) but your comment has made me wonder if theres a story in there.

  4. I love where you are going with your ideas Jac! It's interesting…at what point does idea and artwork meet structure? I usually start off with deciding media then experiment, but at the same time I always have a vague idea of structure too. But then the structure usually has to adapt to my artwork! I hope I haven't confused your decision! Hey, just follow your gut instincts and good luck! :)


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