So today I visited the home I was looking to photograph…wow! I had been told it was ‘creepy’ and dark however what I saw was very different. Yes it was dark, mostly due to the fact the tenant had taken apart the electrics and heating and many windows were either painted black or covered but I felt it was sad, not ‘creepy’. The tenant whom I know had mental health issues and was struggling to live alone was obviously fanatical, the collections of football cards and stickers as well as the collections of air craft figures, instructions and DVD’s were an insight to his mind. These were clearly his passion yet he has, at best, one carrier bag of clothes and no food or utensils in his cupboards. I think I saw one towel yet the bath and the sink had been painted in black gloss and with no lighting this rendered it virtually unusable. I imagine any money he had was spent either on cigarettes or his ‘obsessions’ and very little on food.
As much as the property was dark I could also see the care he had taken in decorating it, albeit darkly, the masking out of patterns on the ceilings and walls speaks volumes.
I am hoping the images I captured today show the sadness of living alone with mental health and lack of support but also how interesting and creative his mind obviously is. Tomorrow we plan to box up his models and DVD’s prior to clearing out the property as he obviously has a love for them, hopefully we can pass these on to his current carers so that he can be re-united with some of his belonging. It is sad to realise how little ‘personal effects’ other than these items he has, there were no photos or cards or any evidence of family or ‘mementos’.
Unfortunately the heavily painted front door had already been replaced with UPVC but everything else remained intact. I plan to look through my images and if anything stands out as missing I am hoping that I can get another opportunity to revisit at the start of this week before the full renovations get under way.
I played with a mixture of apertures as well as using manual mode to capture the light exactly as I saw it, I felt this was important. I experimented with zooming out in shutter priority to try to show the potential state of mind and focus on his obsessions. I am also thinking of the other layers of my experience such as the stale smell of cigarettes and the sticky feeling underfoot and how I could potentially incorporate those into my assignment.