Up Close

The theme of connecting social issues with very personal experience is at the heart of my work ‘Up Close’. Up close is the book I published in October 2008 (Bunker Hill Publishing) which describes my relationship with my daughter Ophir who has Downs syndrome

When my daughter Ophir was born I carried on photographing and instinctively pointed the camera to the family. If the camera wasn’t there I used pen and paper and so quite unconsciously I began documenting our lives, my feelings and her development. I was not concerned with the form I used whatever was available and convenient. These images were born out of a personal, authentic need and were never intended for public viewing.

The idea to put the images together along with extracts from my diaries changed the nature of this process from private to public. My original motivation for making our lives public was to challenge stereotypes and myths concerning Downs syndrome. I wanted to show that I am just a mother in a relationship with my daughter, one which is neither positive or negative but complex and deep just like those of other mothers and daughters. As much as I believe we all pass through similar feelings, developmental stages, worries and joys, I also wanted to express the difference and how living with a disability heightens everyday experience.

Up Close is a portrait of a relationship; it shows our fundamental need to know ourselves in relationship to another. It is an authentic and open process which the camera facilitates. To turn the camera towards the people you love is an attempt to probe into those deep and subtle relationships not to affirm the already known. The need and interest in depicting ones private environment and genetic heritage reflects a widespread need to understand more clearly who we are and where we come from.

 

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