Two ‘selfies’ taken at a particular time in a particular place. The attic in question is the attic of my grandmother’s house and I lived up there for a few months while I redecorated her house. My grandmother had died fifteen or so months earlier, and I had the bitter-sweet job of making-over her various rooms and ringing in the changes. I was twenty-eight in the Summer of 2003 and very much in-between things, living through a period of disruption and change. Melancholy though it was, being back in the attic of my late grandmother’s home promised a certain peacefulness and simplicity. I had a novel I was writing, an acoustic guitar, and I was living without the internet or other trappings. Indeed, even the computer I was writing on was an ancient beige thing with a black screen and white text – that’s how long ago this all feels to me now!
Today, it is completely normal for people to take self-portraits and share them unselfconsciously; I guess these two photographs were taken by me to wittingly romance my situation a bit; the attic, the lostness, the changing of the guard, the nostalgia of that very particular place. Obviously I thought it important to keep the moment – important enough to go through the motions of setting up the portraits in the first place.
I was doing so much sanding at that time, I got dust inside my camera, a whole roll of film ‘spoiled’ by gauze and light-bleeds – which you can see in the top image. I quite liked all the damage in the end; another way in which this house-in-transition was captured on film.
For the bottom image, I rested the camera on the windowsill of the attic window that looks out over the town. You can’t know this from the photo of my face, but I’m looking out on rustling copper beech trees, and listening to the calling of wood pigeons, a sound I will forever associate with this space, this time, this view.