Sunday, 31 March 2013


The young woman in the centre of this family photo is my grandma, Lily Evison. Her father died when she was 13 and her mother died when Lily was in her early twenties, so she lived with her aunts, uncle, cousins and grandfather here until she married and left home.

As a child I saw this as a group of people who lived in the past and who, apart from my grandma, I never knew. But as I grow older and start to investigate my family's past I recognise that their lives, emotions and experiences are not dissimilar to my own and I feel our common humanity. 

I combined this image with the text from a business card from Gott's Shoe Repairs, the family business of Bernard Gott who Lily would meet, marry and share the rest of her life with. Their future, their past, creating my future and my past.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

How great are grandmas?

I never knew Ellen, my great, great grandmother, but I have a fondness for her. I love her cheeky hint of a smile in this photo and the jaunty feather in her hat. At a time when having a photograph taken would have been a major occasion and treated quite formally it looks as though she found it hard not to laugh at having to sit still.

In this print I laid the image over some notes I'd been making on my family tree, linking me to her. I made her feather purple as she reminds me of the woman in Jenny Joseph's poem oft-quoted to me by three generations of my family: Warning - When I am an old woman I shall wear purple. And framed her with part of a memento mori image from the 1600s, a reminder to us all of our common humanity and limited time on earth. 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Susan & Taffy: a portrait

My friend Sue provided me with various photographs for a portraiture project that we both undertook. One was an old photo of her as a child with her dog, Taffy, a gift from her grandpa. These days, Sue is a photographer herself. She's also a keen birdwatcher and has taken some beautiful photos of birds, both at home and further afield. 

We mused on how photography has changed from the days when each shot was prized and we waited with anticipation for the developed photographs, to today's digital world where images are so instant, so disposable and so easily adaptable.
Using the childhood photo and sections of one of Sue's bird photos, I created this screen print, bringing together the old and the new, the past and the present.