IAPA4 – Context and Critical Analysis

A4 Context and Critical Analysis

Image and text

Back Course Work

Research Context and Critical Analysis Development Initial Submission

Tutor Feedback Reflection Rework Final Submission


Kirsty Mitchell:Nocturne

“Sadly my main reason fo picking up a camera was to deal with the years before and after the death of my mother”

“I felt angry sad broken up”

(Kirsty Mitchell Photography, 2017)


Kirsty Mitchell: Wonderland

“Wonderland began in the summer of 2009 as a small project born of the grief for my mother”

(Kirsty Mitchell Photography, 2017)


Sharon Boothroyd: If you get Married Again Will You Still Love Me

These photographic tableaux are based on words spoken to separated fathers by their children. After gathering the memories, Boothroyd produced visual representations of these phrases, drawing on emotions the child may have been dealing with at the time.”

(Sharonboothroyd.com, 2017)


Sharon Boothroyd: They All Say Please

“After finding prayer cards in a church I became interested in other peoples’ prayers as a way of learning about our shared inner desires and wishes. I discovered online prayer forums where people post their prayers anonymously. I selected and edited some of these prayers down and created photographic interpretations for them.”

(Sharonboothroyd.com, 2017)



A certain place may evoke a memory of being there in the past and the pleasant or unpleasant emotions attached to that experience. Your visceral response to a particular song may be a reminder of the emotion you felt toward someone with whom it is associated.

Yet it is not simply emotional memory that is triggered by an object but also the connection you had with the person who is represented by it.

For example, I happened to open a box that had been stored away for many years and found something that had belonged to my mother. Along with elation, momentary sadness was activated in me, as though I had somehow connected with her again.

(Lamia Ph.D, 2017)


Redact: Dictionary Definition


1Edit (text) for publication.‘a confidential memo which has been redacted from 25 pages to just one paragraph’
1.1 Censor or obscure (part of a text) for legal or security purposes.

Full Definition: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/redact

(Oxford Dictionaries | English, 2017)


The Telegraph: Letter censorship on the front line

“Each week, more than 12 million letters were delivered to soldiers during the First World War, providing opportunities to exchange news with family and friends, request parcels and confirm that they were still in one piece.”

“As the main method of communicating with home, servicemen placed huge importance on correspondence”

Censorship of soldiers’ letters was undertaken by regimental officers.

For Billie and others who were never to return from the battlefields, their final letters home would be regarded by loved ones as a poignant testimony of their sacrifice and treasured as their last written expression.

(Richards, 2017)


Anca Gray:  Defaced Book


(Gray, 2017)

Critical Analysis

There are examples of photographers producing work in response to a loss or bereavement. Two examples of this are the works of Kirsty Mitchell in her series Nocturne and Wonderland, Both were created to help her cope with the lead up and eventual loss of her mother, Nocturne is dark and moody, and reflects the negative state the author was in at the time. Wonderland is however a celebration of all that was good and bright about her mother showing us her love of books and of storytelling.  (Kirsty Mitchell Photography, 2017)

These works prompted me to look at the idea of working on loss as I have recently lost my Mum and a few years prior my Dad, I have not even begun to recover from the loss of my Dad so the loss of my Mum hit me while I was very low. I noticed that certain places made me sad, like doing some work in his workshop and using his tools, sitting in Mum’s Garden looking at her flowers, there were so many stimuli.

It struck me that this fitted well with the idea of Identity and Place, I found an article by Mary C Lamia Ph.D, in Psychology Today talking about objects and places being the trigger for memory, it started to resonate with my experience. I realised that the assignment needed a link to text an image and I found two things that stuck out for me, first was the concept of redaction which was used to protect the war efforts in several wars, however it often meant that people would loose loved ones and something would be take away from them as the redacted letter was all that was left of the lost soldier. (Richards, 2017)

The second link came from studying the photographers mentioned in the work book one of whom was Sharon Boothroyd who was my first tutor and I consider a friend with whom I still converse Her work on absent fathers was all based on the phrase ” If  you get Married Again Will You Still Love Me” and her work on the prayers she found on online prayer sites “They All Say Please” was based on a series of text quotes from the said web sites.(Sharonboothroyd.com, 2017)

This made me think I needed a phrase or piece of text that bordered my idea, I found a lot about loss and grief but nothing really stuck so I decided to write my own text to drive the project, I found two passages that moved me but were not quite right:

I Think the hardest part of losing someone, isn’t having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them. Always trying to fill the void, the emptiness that’s left inside your heart when they go.

– Unknown


But in all the sadness when you’re feeling that your heart is empty, and lacking, You’ve got to remember that grief isn’t the absence of love. Grief is the proof that love is still there.

– Tessa Shaffer

So I ended up crafting these words of my own as the subtext of the work:

There are places that remind me of them, somehow there seems to be a void or vacuum in that place where their existence has ceased to be. It leaves a hollow place somewhere inside of me.

– Stephen Barney

The final part of the puzzle after trying several ways of redacting an image in Photoshop came when I found the Defaced book posted on Tumbler by Anca Gray (seen above). (Gray, 2017)

This led me to the idea of physically altering and image by cutting a hole and burning it out to represent the pain and loss that comes from being in that place with those objects. All I needed to do now was find all the locations and make the work.