Photography, loss and memory: a visual account of grief adaptation
Many of the theories in this field have been largely expressed in scientific or clinical terms; research and practice from a creative perspective, as a sustained and systematic approach, have received less attention. My practice-led research offers an alternative method to the predominantly theoretical and textual discourse normally encountered, utilizing the singular or combined application of creative still photography, videography and lenticular technology, as a strategy for the study and management of grief. Through creative processes, it explores and interprets human responses to loss through death, and demonstrates the value of creative practice as scholarly research, and its significance as a tool for the development of communication and understanding. The work has drawn on my own personal bereavement experiences, and those of volunteer participants as primary data. Divided into four topics, the visual work has proved relevant in a broad range of transdisciplinary contexts including health, education, research and the arts. As Dr Robert Kastenbaum has stated: "Your distinctive and innovative work … will have relevance to human service caregivers, researchers, and people in the arts and Humanities." Dr Robert Kastenbaum, Arizona State University. This original lens-based artwork involves a process of deconstruction/reconstruction of events, which includes self-reflection and self-evaluation. Negative emotions produced through bereavement can be re-aligned as history, memory and biography overlap and resonate, and past experiences become re-articulated in the present (Ellis & Bochner, 1992). Placed in a health context, these lens-based practices can be effective in terms of the healing process (Dalley, 1984). Research has shown that positive evaluation of experiences during bereavement can help to produce ’resilient rather than vulnerable survivors’ (Riches, 2002, p. 8). Feedback has underlined the importance of the current position of photography as a research strategy in general, and its impact as a tool within the context of grief study.
Citation : SIMMONS, M. April 2003 and March 2005. Pictures From Life. Lincoln: Harding House Gallery.
Research Group : Photographic Studies and Creative Imaging
- Leicester Media School