‘Searching for Your Shadow’ is a self-published photobook exploring memory, history and urban geography.
Like my birth and adoptive parents, I am a migrant with links to Ireland, Poland, and France, as well as my home country, Britain. My (adoptive) mother was also the child of migrants, from Poland. She was not born in Paris, but, was always from Paris.
This photobook consists of a recent exploration of my Parisian mother’s home district (the 15th arrondissement). This is one of the most everyday areas in Paris, with little there to attract the tourist or the sightseer. These are also the streets I trod when I spent a week in Paris in 1967, aged 15. I spent a week walking, visiting galleries, observing, and absorbing. I did not have a camera at that time, but I now understand that that week was pivotal to my visual education. I learnt to not passively look, but to actively see.
Later in life I became a photographer.
This project is heavily influenced by the writings of Patrick Modiano (Nobel Prize for Literature, 2014), whose writings are the fragmented, lateral stories of memories, history, and the urban geography of Paris. Crucially, Modiano's characters usually attempt, and fail, to make some sense of memories of the past. This failure is implicit in their search, as it is in mine.
The fragility of memory is thrown into relief by my mother’s struggles with dementia in the latter years of her life.
This slippage of personal and familial memory greatly informed this search for the intangible.
I am currently crowdfunding to cover the printing costs to make a softcover photobook of the 23 images, two of my mother's ID cards from the 1940s, and two maps of the arrondissement. Also included, is an authored Foreward (currently being written) and an Afterword (written by myself):
Regular updates are appearing on my Facebook and Instagram accounts.