As self indulgent as this blog gets, i hope you are bearing with me. I am actually shooting a few new project ideas at the moment – i digress though… more of that another time.
Billy Bragg is playing right now as today is the 18th anniversary of my fathers death in 1992 when i was 19 years old. Beate pointed out that within a few months i will have spent more of my life without him than with, and so perhaps that is a good enough reason to ponder..
I had just that Friday returned from my second trip to India for the Manduwala project and had not seen him for the better part of a year… we caught up on the Saturday.. I slept through the Sunday .. and after he had passed on the Monday Phil came round to keep me company.. After the worst of My Struggle, we watched Monty Pythons ´Life of Brian´, and i tried to feel anything but the way i felt.
As a tribute of sorts, and with my father in mind, I´ve begun photographing the remains of his life.. a stained and dusty envelope with army records.. the blood-red ´Instructions for Opening Fire´ card from his time on Cyprus during the 60´s, (below).. his taxi license badges which were strung around his neck 12 hours a day for the better part of 30 years.. the only photograph i have of him – the only one i took (at top)..
Perhaps the start of a Bruce Chatwin inspired project entitled ´God Box´ – finding a place for the bits of paper and other mementos which are kept in a small wooden foot stall. Click.. Click… Click.. I began to take the photos of sorrowful and meager possessions.. however, too much navel gazing you start to see the fluff.
I´ve found that the loss of a parent never gets easier, yet coping with the loss becomes second nature.. a rite of passage which forces a strange kind of self control. Perhaps all the disparate circumstances of mortality lend us that. Of course I wish we´d talked more.. adult to adult.. I´d love to hear more about his time in the east-end of London in the early 1940´s.. the gangs.. his place.. and how he came to have his ear sliced by a flying brick. I know virtually nothing of my extended family there.. families.. tschk. A project for the future.
The grief is mostly selfish – looking for tantalizing references of a history to perhaps fill the void left by my impossibly small family. Some though is not. He would be proud of Tor Capa – his grandson – and my beautiful lover Beate.. Norway would have rocked his boat. No doubt he would join me for a Scotch and laugh back at that idealistic teenager, banging around in the loft 21 years ago.. trying to make a darkroom balance on a broken door which was laid flat across ceiling rafters.
So I was just on the brink of picking at the fluff in my metaphorical belly button, when Tor Capa heard the bright *chink* of Dads brass taxi badges.. (he presumes that any metallic shiny object which ´rings´ belongs to him). He bumbles over, grabs the badges from me, strings them around his neck and in doing so effortlessly drags me directly back to The Present.