Seeing posters around Aberdeen for the RGU’s end of year arts show has made me think about my time at Uni studying photography at Napier University in Edinburgh 2002-2006. The fire at Glasgow School of Art also made me realise how lucky i was that i still have all my negatives and prints that i did back then. I really feel for those students.
My main project in my last year was ‘Hud doon the deece’ meaning ‘later years of rest’ in doric ( i got that from a doric book, so blame the book if any fellow Aberdonians think its not correct!) The project was all about my nannie (as in granny!), Maryann whom i was very close to. I had no intention of photographing my nannie for my final year project, i was struggling to come up with an idea, it just so happened whilst i was going through my scrapbook of photos/ideas with a tutor that he asked about one photo in particular. The photo was of my nannie in her bed taken with a 5×4 camera, i had hired out the 5×4 camera from uni and taken it up to Aberdeen to experiment. A 5×4 camera is a crazy big old fashioned camera with bellows and massive negatives – 5×4 in size, there are only 12 negs in a box and you would have to place each negative individually in to a slide and then into the camera. Check out this link to get an idea of a 5×4 camera: http://www.ground-glass.net/large-format/toyo-view-45-gx
I began photographing my nannie on a regular basis, she was pretty much bed bound due to osteoporosis and she had also suffered a few strokes. Her life revolved around her bed, she would eat, sleep, get washed, read, watch TV, do word searches, vistors would go to her bedside, it was like this for years. She had a few things that would get her out of bed though… My mum dyed her hair bright red every month, my nannie took great pride in her red hair, she also enjoyed a wee puff of a fuggy, a superkings to be precise. She didn’t go outside or smoke in her room so she would time her cigs with her pees and smoke in the toilet! Now for anyone that knows superkings cigarettes, they are massive, one fuggy could last my nannie 3 days!
My nannie past away 6 months after my project, i felt so lucky to have been able to spend so much time with her while i was at university, she let me in to her wee bubble. Photography really is such an important part of our lives, they keep memories going forever. Looking back at these images i can vividly remember my nannie at this time, if it wasn’t for these photos those memories would have faded.