Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Thoughts on Assignment 4

A sense of a place.

I have discussed with my tutor about trying to depict a funeral director's establishment for this assignment.

Aside from the brief at this stage as I'm trying to get some thoughts together. I was engaged to do a couple portraits for the owner of the business and a staged "bereavement shot. These pictures will be used to refresh their web-site. I've done these and they have been enthusiastically received. Part 1, job done.
Whilst I was travelling to the building I twas thinking about the next assignment and how the "place" might fit into the assignment brief. My thoughts, with regard to sense, in relation to a funeral director's estblishment, came up with:








I've only been to one of these places once before after my father died. Then I was relieved to have had most (if not all) of the procedural worries taken away; in short the person in the funeral parlour took all of the burden that he could away from me so that I could grieve with my mother and family.





The owner when we discussed the project was at pains that no names (of the deceased) could be seen in any pictures I show, he also stated verbally and in an email:

"I suppose I should mention that whilst Ken and I are very lighthearted around the office Jerrams Brothers has a culture of always being dignified and respectful where the deceased, bereaved and their families are concerned and I would ask you to bear that in mind when visiting our premises and when taking photographs."

That he felt he needed to ensure I understood fully the ethos of his practice was testament to his professionalism. However I wanted to be able to show the presence of the people if at all possible. With the employees that would probably be fairly straight forward, but when I looked around there were names in a lot of places. The fridge right holds up to four people and had three in it when I took the picture. In photoshop I have attempted to "rub-out" the names in such a way as to mimic the process with a cloth - as would be done in practice. The brown cardboard boxes at the right of the shot contain the ashes of deceased people, with their details printed on the labels. I don't think these can be read, although I have another shot where the boxes are much bigger and much clearer, which will give me another issue to resolve. I wonder though with the fridge whether it has the appearance of occupation in the treatment I have used?
My first expedition to this "place" has me asking more questions about the pictures I have taken and how far further I need to go to go somewhere near the brief for the assignment.
The clothes to the right are those that will dress one of the deceased inside the fridge, one of those whose name I have "rubbed-out/erased". I am aware of the awfulness of the prose.


  1. A delicate task I think but Im confident that you'll handle it with sensitivity and grace.

  2. I do feel a burden of responsibility and so I really hope I can.