Following our workshop with Mez Packer we were asked to create a Flash Fiction ( 300-1000 words, encapsulated narrative in which every word counts) or piece of prose (Hybrid form of poetry that does not follow particular set of rules) in response to being asked what we would die for, our top 5 burning questions and 10 words that are important to us.
When thinking about the questions that are important to me I could only come up with 3 :
- Why is it that there is such a division between the Worlds haves and have not’s?
- What will the future be like for my children in a changing world climate?
- Will I see my Grandmother again in the afterlife?
Of course these questions are unanswerable and that is perhaps what makes them so interesting.
When thinking of words that were important to me we were asked to possibly segment them into 2 halves. One being global concerns and the other being personal concerns. For me, I found the personal concerns easier to come up with than the global ones.
Personal: Happiness , Family, Creating, Marriage
This exercise has allowed us to question patterns that emerge within our own practice. I find it interesting that I have chosen personal concerns over concerns of the wider world at large. When thinking about this I feel that this does reflect the way in which I practice as a photographer. I enjoy undertaking intimate ,personal briefs and find it a more natural way to work.
The final question we were asked was what values you would fight/die for. Immediately , without hesitation I would die for my children. I would lay down my life in a heartbeat if it meant that they would be safe. They are the only people who I would die for. However, I would fight for the right for my family to be free. I would like to think in times of oppression , that I would stand up and be counted. However, I am all to aware that in the reality of the situation I could not say now for certain that I would not instead choose to keep quiet and not draw attention to myself in order to survive.
So, upon considering all this we were asked to go away and think of a scenario in which we would be forced to flee, and to accompany the story with a series of photographs that compliment the narrative:
As I watch the fire engine pull away, its engines spilling out choking fumes into the dimly lit street, the smell of charred wood lingers in the air.
Turning towards the remains of our family home I contemplate the “what if’s” of my current predicament . I ask my self what if fire alarm has not recognised that my life was about to come crashing down around me in a burning inferno, along with the curtains that had kept out the dark on cold winters nights. The sofa that we had spent many an evening snuggled up on, watching movies, eating snacks and taking for granted our time together.
I think of the baby pictures that went up in smoke, precious memories wiped out in an instant. The magnets upon the fridge , fixing in place the pictures lovingly drawn by Thomas , aged 2 , aged 4 and aged 9 years old. All now just dust, being blown away, resembling snowflakes on this cold winters night.
What if I had not been able to cross the landing to scoop a sleeping Elliot into my arms. Protecting him against the ferocious heat that was building up within the house. What if my husband had not been able to lead us all , protectively , instinctively out of away from the inferno that was a whisper away from engulfing us?
As I allow my knees to give way, sinking to the ground , allowing the enormity of the situation to hit home, if feel strong protective arms embrace me, shutting out the horror of the events that had occurred that night and allowing the What If’s to fly away into the night air carried away by the nights breeze.
Tomorrow is a new day. No more what if’s, just the have now. Live for the day, and never take for granted the love and light that my family bring me.
I have made the images and text into a short book on blurb which can be seen here.