Tagged: #nikkipricephotography

Memories from Home No 4: You don’t have to be an artist

Welcome to my fourth blog post in this series of ‘Memories from home’ this blog follows on the ideas of blog 3, in using art and creativity after a bereavement in navigating grief.  My previous blog explored the concept of Flow – being totally absorbed in a creative process in exploring and making meaning.  I used photography as a way of creatively exploring and connecting with memories of my Dad.

Artists have used paintings, photographs, and writing as a way of exploring and presenting ideas and reactions to death, grief and bereavement for many years.  As well being interested in modern artists using art in exploring and sharing feelings around grief and loss,  I am becoming drawn to those who used forms of art in creativity but didn’t necessarily consider themselves an artist, appreciating that you don’t have to be an artist to be creative.

Thinking around this theme was explored at an online death cafe I recently attended, some sharing that they didn’t identify as an artist but used art and creativity in exploring their feelings of grief, and in a loss of ways of being, of which we are, it feels, all experiencing currently due to the global pandemic.  It was hoped that sharing their poetry, paintings and through other artistic media, helped them individually to explore feelings and make sense of the world, as well as a hope that it reached out and helped others.

Participants of my Masters Research were a mixture of those who identified as being an artist, and others who used creativity and art that emerged organically after a family members death.  One participant said following the death of their Mother, that ‘I think I have to write, I don’t write because of her and I don’t paint because of her.  It’s like I do it and i’m incredibly fortunate that I found it, or it found me, whatever it is’.  Another used the art of writing as a way of imagining and writing a different connection after the death of their Mother, ‘ I didn’t start writing until after…….I felt I could write what I liked, I wrote myself a better mother’.

I photograph a lot everyday, documenting my life, either through my DSLR or a quick snap on my I-phone.  Photography has often helped me work through a thought process, difficult task or for pure pleasure, and when having to organise my Dad, Nan and Grandad’s homes after they died, documenting how me and my family were doing this, was second nature to me.  It gave me, as well as a documentary of that time, which on occasions was a blur, a snapshot on which to reflect and remember as part of my, and my families legacy.  It allowed me to see all the house trinkets and objects that contained memories, some of which weren’t possible to keep.  Recently my Mum told me that she was ‘happy that I had taken those photos’ as they (my family) may not have thought to do, so and was an important thing to have.

Did you feel the need to create art after the death of a loved one?

Nikki

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If you want to join me on my journey through my PhD research; my focus is expanding towards creativity and how artists and others use creative expression as a way of navigating and exploring grief. You can always contact me, if you wish to be involved as a participant in my research.

I look forward to seeing your shares and stories with me through my Facebook page.

 

Memories from Home No.1: Mirror

My Masters (and now expanding to PhD) focussed on everyday home objects and photographs that are kept after a bereavement in a family.  I’m interested in what memories and stories, objects and photographs evoke, and why people choose to keep certain items around them in their homes.

I’d encourage others to share home photographs and objects in a similar vein that we have in our home now, that may relate to a loved one, or kept as a memento of a holiday for example.  I’ll be sharing items from my home and archive and will include a little story about the associated meanings, memories and anecdotes I have, occasionally linking to readings that I’ve found useful, and you may too.

In the current global climate, many of us are working from and spending more time in our homes, and thinking this would be a good time for us to come together online as a community, sharing our memories, stories, objects and photographs from our homes. Connections to everyday objects and photographs that are important, valuable (not necessarily in a monetary way) as well as enriching our lives.

Mirror

Those of you who have been following my blog and Masters journey, will be familiar with this mirror:

It belonged to my Grandparents, gifted to them as a Wedding present back in 1958.  It has 12 sides, held by a short chain and circle, with clips attaching the mirror to the backing, something vintage now, definitely of the time, I’ve done some research into the manufacturer, most likely to be G-plan:

It was always a feature in my Grandparent’s home as long as I can remember, in the house they lived in from when I was young until I was 36.  As kids we would dance and sing in front of it, put on Nan’s scarves and put makeup on in front of it.

I’ve been reading Brian Dillons ‘In the Dark Room’, and in his ‘Things’ chapter he talks about the wider associations to a kept object, going beyond what it is at face value, similar to the writings of John Berger who wrote about memories being non-linear. Objects and photographs allow us to focus on recall of memory, however not always working in a linear way, i.e different associations to an object or photograph at different times.

Sometimes the evoked memories through the object or photograph go far beyond the initial memory;

The mirror for me is symbolic as reflecting our family life, sharing the laughs and the sorrows, birthdays, the room in which it was hung, the other objects and photographs that surrounded it like a shrine of my family history.  The smells that filled the room, the pie and mash dinners, fish and chips, tomato ketchup that sat opposite it on the table, the sweet smell of cake, hairspray and atrixo hand cream.  Beyond the room in which the mirror was hung, was an ordinary terraced house that sat in an estate, in the early days had a conifer in the front garden, a short walk to the river.  The mirror, now over 60 years old now sits in my home, reflecting my life, in my terraced home.  It shares and reflects the people in my life, those who visit, the couple who visited me during my Open House, who had lived in my house some 40 years earlier.  What memories the mirror could tell if it could speak.

I’ll be writing a blog soon on my Masters Research, and those wanting to join me on my journey through PhD; the focus is expanding towards creativity and how artists and in the everyday use grief as a way of creative expression.  You can always contact me, if you wish to be involved as a participant in my research.

I look forward to seeing your shares and stories with me through my Facebook page.

Until next time.

Nikki