she's doing up the house
You can buy selected prints featured within the publication 'She's Doing up the House' here - all profits made from the prints will be used towards helping my mother finish renovating the house.
‘She's Doing up the House' is a photo series formed out of an 8-month collaboration examining the dysfunctional relationship shared between a daughter (photographer) and her mother (subject). The motivation behind the series looks at how imagery within a socially engaged collaborative process can be used simultaneously to create a positive change. The project uses imagery to self-help the photographer and the mother, using the camera cathartically as a communicational tool to help explore, analyse, aid and strengthen their rapport.
The title of the series refers to the key concept explored within the project; using photography to examine the mother's constant uphill battle to finish renovating the family home. The photographer uses the publication to explore her mother's struggles to complete the renovation due to her financial difficulties, impacted by her bringing up two young children and working full time as a single mother. The phrase ‘She’s Doing up the House’ is a relatable concept to the audience, as most people who grew up within a family home could probably relate to their parents or now themselves renovating their family home; adapting and changing the décor either through fixing broken, painting bedroom walls or replacing sofas. Others are able to relate to these struggles that hinder the renovations caused often by lack of time or money; yet despite this the aim to self-improve the home remains constant.
The photographer uses the shooting process to learn more about her mother, either through communicating and taking her portrait or through creating a more metaphorical image that describes her mother; often done through analysing her possessions within the family home.
The series also documents the sensitive issues surrounding their troubled relationship, using photography to examine themes surrounding her mother's struggles with alcohol as well as the trauma caused by these issues that have negatively impacted the photographer's childhood; as well as her association with her memories of ‘home'. The project also importantly examines the relationship holistically, using photography to reference positive associations the photographer has of ‘home'; through documenting places associated with more nostalgic and happier memories within ot located around the family home. All images within the project are shot on colour 35mm or 120mm film, either using a portable point and shoot camera mostly within the interior whilst all staged landscape images were shot more formally using a Mamiya 7 rangefinder or an RB67.
The publication acts as a testament to the mother and daughter's collaborative efforts. The 60-page photo-book is continually informed and guided through the use of text that aims to contextualise the series further. The use of text is sometimes depicted and replaced by an image that the photographer chose not to capture, often decided by the moral consequences using the photograph would cause or if it inflicted the projects positive intention to better the complex mother-daughter relationship. In other ways text is used and written in statements to inform and add a deeper narrative to the image, often helping the viewer to build a stronger character of her mother and their troubled relationship. The opening and closing supporting text help again to further contextualise the subject matter and discuss the positive intentions behind the project.
The sensitive subject matter behind ‘She's Doing up the House' was considerately photographed, whilst the photographer made sure to critique her approach and reflect on the moral and ethical implications of the project; from the shooting process right through to the publishing the book. The photographer found it continually important to ensure her mother was happy with her portrayal, in order to obtain her mother's consent concerning the publication being made and shared.
You can view the publication online below..