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  • TraceyJayneThomas

Picture this

Photography is a fundamental part of my process; the camera is as integral to my tool bag as sketchbook and pencils. Within my art practice, I will peruse and consider shots taken throughout the creative process.


When it comes to taking family photos, digital photography heralded a new way of me viewing them – as in I don’t. They are taken, initially viewed, (if that) then they float around in the ether, never to be seen again. So when it comes to sourcing ‘found images’ to work from, I can actually use my own – they are re-found.

Photo of the artist taken on a 110 camera in 1980
Myself (1980) taken on a 110 camera

I have physical albums full of tangible photographs. Albums curated and carefully arranged, having waited eagerly – impatiently – for them to come back from the developers; for the date to come when they could be picked up from Boots or be delivered through the door from Truprint, to receive a mixed bag of successes and disappointments – like a game of chance.


With digital photography we now have the luxury of editing on the hoof, of deleting the failures, removing red eye, correcting light, and cropping to eliminate the peripheral.

But the peripheral is our context, our environment, it is the space in which we exist.


On viewing our old family photographs, we found ourselves looking beyond the person who was the intended subject. We looked past them to the background – the ornaments on the shelves, the wallpaper, curtains, cup on the table – the objects we surround ourselves with, live with, things that go to make up a life, a home, a history – it was those things that prompted stories and recollections of events, of when, where or who bought them, who broke them. It was the peripheral that presented and unlocked a rich store of memories.


Realising this made us change the way we take our photographs, now we rarely crop and often take random shots of the home and garden. We embrace our peripheral and keep our context.


Photo of a lady taken on a 110 camera in 1980
Mum (1980) with her 110 camera

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