Deborah Parkin is based in Northumberland, UK, and though she holds a MA in Holocaust Literature, she expresses herself using medium format and 4×5 cameras. Her work reflects an ability to explore the past and the present at the same time, layering images of childhood with the dark side of difficult memories and the recognition of time passing. Her work has recently been published in SHOTS Magazine, on the THIAPS blog, and has been exhibited at the Vermont Photography Workplace Gallery. I am featuring work from two series, September is the Cruellest Month and Memory.
September is the cruellest month:These portraits were taken over the summer of 2010 when I came to the stark realisation that my children are growing up (and to a point away) from me, and that times passes and is never recaptured – we are only left with memories and photographs.
Taken on a 4×5 large format camera, using Fuji’s instant black and white film, I wanted to capture moments of our summer together whether it be in play, at the mountains, at the sea, moments of contemplation … moments that don’t necessarily record the act but will trigger the memory and emotion I felt in years to come when I look back and hold these images in my hand. I am photographing for the future as well as the present.
Why “September is the cruellest month”? Because it is the time when I have to let my children go back out into the world again without me. The summer holiday is now over. Back to school, back to their clubs, progressing, moving on. Something we all embrace and want for them, but secretly wanting to hold back time a little bit longer. We can’t stop time but we can freeze it for a split second in our photographs.
Memory: As the title suggests these are a series of images drawn from my memories of childhood. According to Freud ‘the feelings of childhood remain with us throughout adult life but they are only perceptible … The foggy remembrance of a sensation that can no longer be grasped but still affect our emotions in ways that we cannot explain ourselves.”
One of my prime aims is to depict the chasm that can exist between a child’s world and that of an adult. If we are to believe what Freud says that as adults we cannot look back as childhood as a child, then inevitably a chasm must exist. This is something I am particularly interested in as I remember the isolation I felt as a child, particularly at school.
My work is about exploring these feelings of abandonment, isolation, loneliness, longing, waiting and ultimately disappointment.
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The 2021 Paula Riff Award: Katie ShapiroJuly 23rd, 2021
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