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The Power of Possessions


After the sudden and unexpected death of my husband, I found it difficult to dispose of his clothing and personal items. Impulsively, I began to make photographs. Only much later did I realise that I was trying to understand the power and mystery that was inherent in the (now dispossessed) possessions.


I find ambiguity in the left over scraps of ordinary lives, in commodities with no monetary worth. If they have any value, it lies in their power to evoke memory and the emotional frisson of touching something that once belonged. Each object embodies remnants of a past in folds and creases, in etched abrasions or small stains, in hair, in tiny flakes of skin, and in the visibility of wear and touch. Each scar speaks of accident and of survival but like the insect on the flower, ultimately of mutability and mortality.


The accretion of wear and tear on a possession provides an important motif that finds an analogy in the photographic process itself. The trace of touch on clothing made visible through the controlled touch of light on silver salts. It is a transfiguration that seems almost magical.


It was only very recently (through this act of photographing) that I really began to appreciate the true significance of the phrase ‘to have and to hold’.  To be able to touch, to be able to hold, is at once the most intimate and the most precious of the senses. It is this that I miss the most.


This website is made in memory of my late husband.

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