Assignment 3: Grandma

The Brief:

We are to choose between a. ‘Mirror’ or b. ‘Window’.  I chose a. ‘Mirror’.

A.  ‘Mirror’

Choose a community that you’re already a part of. It could be your child’s nursery or your regular gym class, but it should be something that takes up a substantial amount of your interest and time. Create a photographic response to how this group informs who you are as a person. What aspects of this group or community reflect on you? What do you share? How does it function as a mirror reflection of who you are?

Assignment 3: Grandma

The past couple of months were really hard for the family.  We lost a close member of our family (my cousin) and two months after we lost my dearest grandmother.  I loved my  grandmother more than anyone, she was my best friend.  She made me feel loved beyond measure.  I would always go to her if I have a problem and she would be the first to know whenever I got good news.  Coping with the loss was very hard therefore, photography is my way to express my feelings of grief.

Inspired by Sharon Boothroyd’s series “Edelweiss” see post here, Samantha Everton and Erwin Olaf’s style and ideas see post here, the popular song “Que Sera, Sera”and my grandmother’s old house; this series was made.  The initial plans, research and all has been documented in the posts under the menu assignments: assignment 3: The Making of the Series (Grandma).

The final images are shown full size below and in sequence:

And a slideshow to show the sequencing:

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I wanted to make this series as a part of my grieving process.  It was difficult during the shooting process because I had to visit my grandmother’s house, the place I lived in during all my childhood life and part of my adult life as well before getting married.  It was also hard looking at the final shots and sequencing them according to what I feel.  This all brings back memories and I find it hard to even write about.  I had to do this because I needed something therapeutic  and photography is my only creative expression.

I used my Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera and I tried to stick with one or two lenses to simplify things taking the advice of my tutor in the feedback of assignment 2.  I basically used only one lens here which is the EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM except for the closeup portrait #8 where I used my EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens and photograph #7 where I used my 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.  I had my tripod and props such as the dried flowers, teddy bear, stool and balloons.  I dressed my model in a white dress and white shoes.  I took the shots in the places I felt more connected to and rooms with more memories and stories.

Editing the photographs was done in Photoshop while the ideas were planned at the photoshoot like for example the levitation photos which were not used for the final series. I converted my photos to black and white to give them a dignified and quasi-timeless quality.  The black and white also gives the photos a moody feel when in low light and that is what I am looking for.  I did all the shots in low light using only light coming from the windows inside and daylight outside.  To me there is a stronger emotional connection with the subject when there is no colour distraction.  The final selections and sequencing process can be seen here.

The series translates my feelings of sadness, fear and loneliness after the death of my grandmother expressed through my daughter.  The series is very personal and works as a mirror to my own self at a grieving moment.  The dark shadows and intense contrast in the photographs create moods and intensifies my deep emotions and feeling of loneliness and grief.  It’s all about letting go and trying to heal.


6 thoughts on “Assignment 3: Grandma

  1. Judy Bach says:

    These are such beautiful and ethereal images Ghada that really convey your sense of loss & that to me suggest abandonment too —how one feels when a dear one is no longer there , you are cast adrift for a time .


  2. Catherine says:

    The sequence works well and evokes the emptiness of loss and absence for me. It’s enhanced I think by the b+w processing. I hope as well that working with your theme has enabled you to leet go to some extent.


    • Ghada says:

      Thank you Catherine. It was really hard to revisit the place and memory and it was hard to work on the assignment as a whole, I am glad I am done with it now.


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