On Sunday I did a strange but beautiful shoot, not beautiful images in particular but beautiful for what it was and what it meant to me. My last post spoke about randomly being invited back to my childhood home, so this Sunday I went. I was both excited and nervous about going back. The house, in Kentish Town, was where I was born (well half of me I got stuck so the other half was in the hospital) and spent the first 6 years of my life. It holds many dear memories for me, and the idea of going back brought up a lot of forgotten ones too, which were nice, not sad as expected. Ringing the bell and being lead in to the house was very strange, but in a nice way, the place still felt the same, it was newer looking and feeling but it still retained the same character. Many of the old features still there, the stained glass windows, the kitchen my uncle built, my mum’s Aga. I brought with me some images to show the new residents, and it was remarkable how similar some things were 30 years on.
I was worried before I went that this trip would bring nothing but sadness, but it was completely the opposite. I thought being back in the house would bring up feelings of grief, missing my mums presence, wanting to go back to my childhood in someway, feelings of missing or longing for that life for when my mum was alive, but it was none of these. The new family that live there are so nice and it was so lovely to see them all living in it as we once did. And what surprised me where all the similarities and beautiful coincidences that kept happening. Like the fact there were a vase of Tulips in the kitchen, really there could have been any flowers but there wasn’t there were Tulips. The young child, Florence, that lives there now is 6 years old, the age I was when we left, and she is not dissimilar to how I looked then either. She was a lovely little girl, polite, friendly and a nice calm presence, I felt real similarities to the younger me. She and I even had the same child’s bowl with our name on. It was so nice to see all her drawings around the house, as mine would have been, all the happy family photos stuck on the fridge, clues of the new happy souls that are living in the house now.
It was all these things that made it a pleasant experience and so glad I went. It’s a kind of full circle in this project, I’ve been to the places of my mums childhood, and now to mine, and the feelings get less and less sad along the way. Perhaps why this project has needed me to take so long on it.
There’s still more to do, but it’s getting there and so are my emotions and feelings, they are changing as I progress through these times and experiences and if nothing but that comes out of all this then that is fine, that’s all I need.