I first encountered the work of Sissel Thastum during a Guest Lecture given via Canvas at the Falmouth University. Her series of images under the title of ‘I Am Here When You Are Here’ seem filled with a sense of ‘Hireath’, a great longing for a time, place or person that may never have existed in reality.
Although many of the images are of a deeply intimate and personal nature one gains a real ‘feeling’ for the location in which the images have been made. The author herself refers to the images as being of a ‘Nostolgic’ itself linked to Gerentology (from the Greek Notos – to return home home) with its reference to aging and a possible state of second childhood with the images generating a deep sense of longing and the desire to return home and spend sometime if the presence of someone close.
The feeling of hiraeth to which I refer is probably due, at least for myself, in part to the way in which the images have been made – using a film camera, printing and then scanning the images with little use of photoshop – the visibility of the film grain and the slightly hazy perhaps misty images create a sense of somewhere else, of moments lost in time, perhaps a better time(?). This is just the type of effect that I am interested in creating within the images I am creating for my own ‘Hiraeth’ project.
This has , for me, probably been the best lecture I have encountered within this unit and certainly one of the most helpful.
I Am Here When You Are Here – Sissel Thastum
The New Village – John Spinks
Published by Bemojake, 2017
A Short Review
I purchased this photobook after attending the lecture given by John Spinks at the Falmouth F2F at Falmouth in 2017 and also having read a review in the Guardian – The New Village by John Spinks – review.
I had a personal interest in this book, mainly because it involved a ‘return to home’ on the part of the Author. We are guided through paths in the surrounding countryside before encountering, if only briefly, the New Village itself and several of the inhabitants. The New Village in question is a Mining Community in the Midlands which, like so many others, has lost its colliery. As such, the place is recognisable to me – from my own experience in growing up in a mining community.
There is a great sense of loss throughout the images featured in the book but also a strong feeling of foreboding being projected through the images. There seems to be a nervousness on the part of the author about returning to the area, which is something that I do not feel when returning to my own home town of Merthyr Vale, yet the images also portray some of the same sense of loss that I myself feel on entering my home town.
I will return to this book at later date to discuss it further, it has close ties to my own Final Major Project.
Overall though, I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of images of the New Village itself and can’t help feeling that I would like to have seen more images of the buildings and locations that make up the village.
John Spinks: The New Village: Photobookstore