Sunday, June 13, 2010

Grandmother's gaze

My grandmother as a child, in an unknown backyard with unknown woman.

Self portrait by my grandmother, Shirley Nicholas.

I am lucky to possess quite a few things that have been passed down from my grandmother (Mum's mum) to me. Some are books that I treasure but most are photographs and film. These two pictures have held a real fascination for me as they both seem to articulate the mystery of self. I look at them now and see my grandmother as a young girl and woman and wonder who she is and was. The photos also have the powerful quality of trapped time and seem to offer some clues to her real identity. And yet at the same time they are held in an endless bubble of that moment, never to be repeated.

My love of photography was inspired very much by Shirley (who I called Nangy all her life as when I was introduced at a young age to say "Hello to Granny" I said "Hello Nangy" and it stuck). She was the chronicler of the family and also had a talent with the lens which has meant that many of her pictures are interesting in themselves.

Sometimes I take a photo today and wonder if my daughter's daughter would still have access to the pictures or interest.

Anyway I leave you with these pictures and hope to post more about the mysteries of image making and pay homage to more photographs of my grandmother.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Man and fish

The first time I scuba-dived,
a fish swam nearby
and oggled me,
swam a bit closer
and oggled me again.

Another darted past,
pretending not to notice.

On surfacing I realised I would never
think of fish in the same way again.