1 Aug 2008


How to begin, to set the scene - the protocol? I’ll start by way of an epitaph. This is my earliest memory of a photograph. It was taken in 1965 by a talented amateur with a subject eager to perform. That’s my father stood in his ill fitting protective overalls, the grin of the mad professor, goggles poised on his swaddled head. What made this photograph different was its scale. At 12”x16” this was no ‘snap’. To a child a print this size was reserved for significant others: the powerful, famous or the notorious. The composition, the lighting, the drama, the central character, this was a photograph. Yet confusingly, somehow, the subject was my father David. This image, always a signifier of my eccentric, exuberant father, no longer resonates with his madcap joy. The pose is the same but the sentiment is now changed. David was misdiagnosed with lung cancer. He never smoked. A physicist by conviction, agonisingly he couldn’t reason the cause of his condition. His boots, laced with string and frosted with dust, concealed a terrible twist. David died on the 16th January 2007. The Coroner’s report came through, cause of death - mesothelioma.

Holding on - moments left, the last photograph, not the last image.