For the last eight years, I have been living on the other side of the world, so distant from my loving family and the vast natural landscape. Leaving Australia to live in London, I am constantly reminded of the restrictions and limitations that I have been dealt . When the opportunity arises to visit home, I begin to fantasise about all the things I will do and the people I’ll see. I want to re-establish myself as a member of the family and ameliorate my feelings of guilt and selfishness. I want to immerse myself in outdoor activities, revisiting old hobbies, exploring the beautiful scenery that my home has to offer.
In my absence, my family continues to progress forward. My mother, now separated from my father continues to be the head of the family, providing love, support and guidance for those around her. My father has moved out and taken his dogs with him. My Nan, getting on in her old age, she lives with us now and has brought all her small dogs with her. My brother Joseph, who recently graduated from high school, is now navigating his way through life as a young adult. My brother and I have always been close; Not necessarily through an emotional attachment but rather a brotherly bond bound in shared experiences. Myself being six years older, I can clearly remember the day he was born. Growing up on acreage, the backyard was our playground. We built our own bike jumps, dug our own tracks and would stay out as late as we could until the only light was that of the moon and its surrounding stars. Anything that I did, Joseph wanted to do; We seldom found an activity that we couldn’t do together.
Returning home with my camera, I focus my lens on the things nearest to me. Capturing my personal experiences and my closest relationships, I am reminded of the words of Sally Mann (2015, p.117), ‘photograph what is important to you, what is closest to you, photograph the great events of your life, and let your photography live with your reality’. I decide to use my camera as a tool; A tool for connecting with my subject. I explore and conceptualise my surroundings. My perspective focuses on an aesthetic associated with memory and my past life. Authentication becomes the dominant motive in my desperate act to reconnect to the landscape and members of my family. The photographs become an expression of love and compassion; Their genesis is rooted in the act of doing and seeing. The representations come as a gesture of affinity, enduring our silences and repressed feelings. I’m not attempting to create my own family photo-album – a narrative of happy beginnings, happy middles, and no endings – I just want to spend time with the ones I love most and take every opportunity to remind them (Kuhn, 2003).