"I HAD NO MEMORIES OF MY FATHER"...
Re:Discovery is a collaborative project between myself and my late father. It is a documentary of the same journey taken 26 years apart.
I began in 2015 by following a route based on photographic negatives of my father’s trip to Poland in the late 1980’s, with the hope of learning more about the man who died a few years after the photographs were taken. Through obsessive studying and researching of his negatives I worked out the route my father took through Toruń (my grandfather’s home town) and spent a week there myself, trying to resolve fragmented memories (both my own and borrowed).
This was not a ‘compare & contrast’ assignment. Rather I made the journey in order to stand in the same place I knew my father had previously stood. I was there to point my camera at the same things he took an interest in, to compose and frame the subjects as he did, and in doing so, finally feel a connection with the man I knew so little about.
Re:Discovery was exhibited at Asylum Art Gallery in 2016 and selected for New Art West Midlands 2017, where I exhibited my work at MAC, Birmingham. At the same time I travelled back to Toruń to install my work at Galeria Wozownia. Images hung on walls, metres from where they were taken, first by my father, then by me.
My relationship with photography has changed as a result of my finding a box of dusty old negatives from a decades old journey. My father's photographs are littered with clues that have guided me on a treasure hunt around Poland. I became obsessed with the little boy on the tricycle - who was he, why were there so many photographs of him? I studied every millimetre of my father's images for something that might point me towards a previously undiscovered point in his journey.
The project continues to evolve as it takes me to new places, thrusts me into new experiences and allows me to connect directly with a part of my identity that was previously unreachable.
In November 2018 I travelled once more to Poland, to tell my story in a documentary for CANAL+ Discovery. Through this I was able to meet family who I had only previously known through my father's photographs, including the little boy on the tricycle. They recounted stories from his visit, shared details of his personality, fed me homemade cakes and cherry vodka and showed me photographs that my father had given them, of me as a child.