I came across Briony Campbell while completing the Square Mile assignment. She had completed a piece of work called The Dad Project [Reference 1] which was similar to the work I was attempting to achieved with mine.
While trying to find out more about her I discovered an article on The Guardian website [Reference 2] with a bit about her.
Campbell’s CV indicates she was born in 1980 in London and studied at London College of Communications. She is a filmmaker and photographer.
When I first looked at The Dad Project it didn’t provoke the emotional response I expected from something that echoed events that were happening in my own life. Now as I get closer to Rhys’ funeral there are images contained in Campbell’s work that resonate more strongly with me and provoke a far greater emotional response. The image of Briony eating food while her Dad lies on the bed next to her reminds me of a photo I took of Rhys one day when he was at home and needed to go and lie down. Unfortunately his own bed wasn’t in a state where he could go to sleep on it and so he went into our bedroom and lay down on my side of the bed.
Reading her own reflection on the work and the struggles she had while coming to terms with the project and the photographs she was taking during an intensely personal and normally private time, I could relate to some of the decisions that she had to make. Where Campbell did take at least one photo of her father after he’d died, if only of his hand, that was one line I couldn’t cross in my own work.
There is a certain rawness to her work, which I believe is the result of the emotions that must have been felt at the time.
The other thing that has struck me as I revisit her website and look at the photographs from The Dad Project [Reference 1] is the similarities but also the differences.
Both of us have captured images of our loved one but in Campbell’s case the majority of the images are of her Dad, or her Dad with other people. A number of the images are of just Campbell. Although Rhys appears in a lot of the work I included in the assignment, there are a number of other images that don’t contain people but just objects and nature. Additionally, I avoided using any images that included myself as part of the assignment. Where Campbell included herself within the project, I did what I’ve always done and separated myself from the work; a form of denial but also detachment that allows me to see what is going on, take everything in, and deal with whatever comes up in the way that best supports my family.
Both of us have included images of objects, Campbell of glasses, spillages. Both of us have included images that show some element of nature.
One of the images that I can relate to is one of a milkshake stain (http://www.brionycampbell.com/projects/the-dad-project/#BrionyCampbell_0206-1000×666.jpg). Campbell indicates in the caption to this image that she had to be a daughter before a photographer at this point. On lots of occasions over the last few months I found myself in the situation where being a parent was the priority, picking up a camera was something that just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t regret those moments, even though the images that I would have captured would have added strength to the story that was being told because it would have provided more insight into our reasons for deciding to spend Rhys’ last weeks in a hospice rather that at home.
- Campbell B, The Dad Project. Available at http://www.brionycampbell.com/projects/the-dad-project/?overview (Accessed: 30th September 2017)
- The Guardian, Briony Campbell’s best photograph. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/aug/01/briony-campbell-best-photograph (Accessed: 23rd September 2017)