SHE'S DOING UP THE HOUSE - VOLUME 1
(2017-2018)

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‘She's Doing up the House' is a photo series formed out of an 8-month collaboration (2017-2018)  examining the dysfunctional relationship shared between a daughter (photographer) and her mother (subject). The writings and images were published as a 60-page 1/1 Photobook. The motivation behind the series looks at how imagery within a socially engaged collaborative process can be used simultaneously to create a positive change. Imagery was used as a form of self-help for the photographer and the mother, using the camera cathartically as a communicational tool to help explore, analyse, aid, and strengthen their rapport.

 

Though the initial intended audience for this series is between the photographer and her mother, the wider audience that would be interested in this work would be those that are interested in socially engaged documentary projects that explore themes relating to identity, family life and one’s turbulent relationship to alcohol.

 

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 that pays homage to the struggles of working-class parents that aim to renovate and fix things broken in the home, despite not being able to achieve this endless list due to lack of time or money. However, beautifully and despite this, the hunger to work to tick off the ongoing less of home improvements remains a 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 and/or writing to examine this. The project also importantly examines the relationship holistically, using photography to reference positive associations the photographer has of ‘home'.

 

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. 

 

This publication was exhibited alongside 2 prints from the same series within the Leeds Arts University Undergraduate BA Photography (Hons) Degree show in June 2018. 

She's Doing up the House (Vol 2) is currently ongoing