At the start of the course I noted that along with portraiture I had a growing interest in surrealism. The Surrealist movement, founded in the early years of the 20th Century, placed great emphasis on the power of the imagination. As a child I had (and still have) a very active imagination hence perhaps it was inevitable that I found myself drawn towards the idea of trying to incorporate my thoughts and feelings into images. I felt this was perhaps an ideal concept for my final assignment.

I love looking through an old green leather case used by my mum and dad to store family photos, a few letters, their war medals, and bits and pieces of other memorabilia . Originally a whiskey casket of some sort the case (full of whiskey) was given to my Aunt Alice (mum’s older sister) prior to World War 2 when she was in service to a rich mining family in the North of England. My dad has been dead many years now and my mum is 87 , the case is now kept at my home along with cases of my own. As time passes these cases will be passed to my own children, who knows how long and to whom they will eventually belong, but the memories they contain are precious. I planned to explore ways of combining the old with the new as a way of keeping my family history alive and relevant, linking past and present through photography.

 A major consideration was how to use the case contents imaginatively and creatively. The image below-- My dad as a young man (Let me hold you in my arms one more time)--- was taken using a 9 stop filter, a photograph of a photograph, an image taken at the very beginning of my coursework and one I wanted to build upon to form a series.

 I had various other ideas of how or what I hoped to do , which included scanning old images or letters and merging them into an image. I have a new scanner, never used until now, that I want to use to digitize all of my analogue photographs eventually and had the idea of combining scanned imagery with a new photograph using the techniques I have learned. What I had not considered was my lack of scanning knowledge . A few hours sat staring at my screen wondering why the scanner was not working was solved when I plugged the USB cable into my Mac !  

 Aunt Alice (deceased) the original owner of the green case which I have adjusted very slightly in Lightroom.

I found looking at how other artists approached the concept inspiring whilst being wary of not simply copying their ideas.

Dear Photograph

Is a website with the simple idea of contributors’ taking an old photograph from the analogue era and simply holding it up against the setting of the original and create a new image. Each picture on the site has a short paragraph written by the image-maker. The images viewed alongside the text are especially poignant.

Irena Werning won the 2012 Professional Category Sony World Photography award for her conceptual series Back to the Future. She carefully re-staged old portrait images to be viewed in juxtaposition with the original. They offer a fascinating glimpse of the aging process but I found in a gentle humorous way. Each individual is photographed in the same environment and clothing as in the original.

My favourite find was discovering the work of historian Jo Teeuwisse. I love the merger of pathos and history in her combination of old and new photographs of the same place at different points in time.

I found it difficult to think of workable original ideas and realized I needed far more time than I initially thought to create a coherent series of images. Furthermore although I started some work of my own combining old and new in Photoshop using Layer masks I think I need to really hone my PS skills before presenting a whole body of this type work as an assignment. 

I will continue to work on this personal project  and hopefully incorporate it into a future OCA assignment at Level 2 but have abandoned my plans to use it this time for my final Level 1 assignment.


30/05/2013 9:25am

I've been thinking along the same lines for about two years but still haven't worked out how I'm going to do it. Like you I've realised that I really need to get to grips with Layers/Compositing in Photoshop.

I like those last two images very much.

02/06/2013 12:53pm

Hi Catherine , thanks for your kind comments. I am really behind with my course work and realised there was no way I would ever complete this project in time. I really hope I manage to improve my PS skills as this project is something I really want to expand on.
Best wishes Judy


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