I have a set of ten prints being exhibited at the Australian Photographic Society Convention in October 2017 as part of a 'story telling' theme. I'm really pleased about this exhibition, not only because I have work being put on display for the public, but also because the photographs all emerged out of a significant moment in my life and in the life of my family.
You could go to see the prints on the wall at the exhibition in Forster, NSW. But I'm going to save you the hassle by reproducing them here in digital form. The brief provided to entrants was that the prints had to be: connected thematically in a way that tells a story; consistent in orientation (portrait or landscape, but not a mixture); and a fixed ratio of 8 x 12 inches. Along with the prints, entrants had to write a very short piece explaining them.
This is my entry.
The Story in Words
In September 2016 my family made a pilgrimage to China and our ancestral home in Fujien. For my father, seventy six, and my uncle, a year older, this was possibly their last visit, their last chance to meet their remaining two brothers, and to share a meal with the widow of a third. For my sister, my cousins and me it was a bittersweet journey of discovery: we are unlikely to return to China with our parents again. How do you reduce something so important to ten images? Or two hundred and fifty words. Perhaps as follows:
We were humbled by the gates of the Forbidden City. We shared tea. We heard the drums of Beijing's Drum Tower call that ‘all is well’. We caressed the brass knob of an ancient cauldron for luck and pressed into the crowds for a glimpse of an Emperor’s throne. We climbed the great wall, and the mountains of Huangshan. We sought a blessing in a Macau temple. We burned incense for our ancestors. We shared a meal with the poorest of our family, who gave generously. We discovered our roots.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy the words and the images: moments in a story more than the sum of its parts.