I have been doing a lot of reading and research for Assignment two and it felt like I needed to balance that out with some image making and started sketching some different ideas about what form the assignment might take. I have decided that it will consist of a series of diptychs with a family album image on one side and an image on the other side that links to the stories of the Australian child migrants.
One pairing I thought of was my family images alongside the Australian flora and fauna that must have seemed so alien to children already confused and frightened about what was happening to them. I remember how different the environment seemed in new South Wales and in Queensland from the depths of Surrey. I can only imagine what these children thought. Initially I thought they would be straight photographs but I decided there was a danger that it might look like a travel brochure.
Like assignment one I spent some time thinking about what it was that was drawing me into this project, why did it feel important to try and address? I decided that what I was trying to uncover was – ‘what must it have felt like as a child of five, six or seven to have arrived in this strange land with everything being so different, a cruel version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?’ For me it was a kind of Wonderland but I had my family with me and we knew at some point we would be going back to England as a group.
This led me to thinking about more abstract images that might evoke emotions. So having collected some found images of Australian flora I experimented with filters and the warp tool. What started to emerge were images that had softness but also some sharp edges. They were no longer recognisable as the original images, perhaps symbolic of the dislocation caused, I also felt they were starting to work better in exploring feelings of loss, pain, confusion and abandonment.
I am not sure if they will work alongside the family album images but will test that out when I pull everything together for the assignment. If nothing else I have found a technique that I think I will keep developing. They have had a very positive response from people I have shared them with.
I couldn’t decide whether to name them or not so for now they are just called Lost, I may revert to giving them only numbers to reflect the loss of identity of the children.