Tomorrow, June 8th is my youngest son's birthday - he will be thirty, yesterday we saw his son walk properly for the first time, he is eleven months old and tomorrow will be my last day of work as I have been declared redundant and will be accepting early retirement. I am not redundant, the company have decided that my role is redundant; but it is difficult not to feel that there is a little stickiness to the moniker, though not as much as it was when I was previously "let-go" eighteen years ago. This time though, I expect not to crave employment, but rather self fulfilment, to continue the road I started on in this course as well as other distractions and see where it all leads.
Today, my penultimate day of paid employment, has been spent in tidying things up, collecting things into piles to hand back to my employer and for some reflection. I have been looking at photographers work - for some time today - reading about their work, what motivates them, their statements. People like Claire Hewitt and Leonie Hampton, Pat Moss and Susannah Baker. And the more I delve the more I find inspirational work, all with something to say, all with legitimate bodies of work that feel intellectually rounded.
The picture here was one I took of a derelict leper colony hospice. The building was closed, it had "danger do not enter"written in various parts of the perimeter chain link fencing. I looked at the building and determined that I would cross that barrier and enter and spend some time taking a lot of images that I "knew" would depict a metaphor for leprosy. The crumbling shell of a building, with bits falling off left to decay further. It was extremely peaceful inside the old building and there were few, if any, signs that nature was retaking the building as often happens in these cases - which on reflection I found curious. This picture, and the others I have in this series, lacks what I think the work I mentioned above have in abundance, namely: Preconception - I knew of this building but hadn't planned on executing anything other than perhaps a record. Aesthetic - I was as interested, maybe more so, to capture images that were pleasing than to carry any significant narrative, so the composition was more important than context, which I now think is probably the wrong way round. Context - very little in this series provided a visual clue linking people to this disease. Absence - Perhaps most important of all I found no way to include even the ghost of a person - there is a total absence of humanity in my series, which is maybe the inherent narrative, but my feelings are that there should be at least an essence of someone in them, after all if I couldn't do that then this is about leprosy and not about it's effect.
What I'm now realising is the distance of travel I need to go to achieve what it is I want from this course, reflecting on the work of the photographers above and others I have encountered so far on this journey. I know what I want is people related, I feel the need to explore people's place in their, or the, world. To find an expression of their existence in what is becoming a less than humane place.
This reflection may have come about due to my new circumstances, impossible to tell really, but it is likely that the way that redundancies are handled by companies, especially large ones, that dehumanises the interface, has amplified these thoughts. I feel that I have a rubicon to cross, but as yet I can't say what size that divide is nor precisely where that barrier is.