Text by Siân Davey and Kate Bush
“Why don’t you photograph me anymore?” This is what Martha said in response to me focusing my camera so often on her sister Alice. It took me by surprise. I wasn’t aware that she would care, but clearly she did.
This work began when Martha was 16 years old, a time when a child is on that cusp of being and becoming a woman. It’s a particular period of time—for a brief period, one is both a young woman and child in the same body, before the child leaves and the young woman stands on her own to meet the world. It’s a complex and potentially confusing time.
During this period of transition, there is a very short time period in which a person can behave without being burdened by the weight of societal expectations and norms. Before long, that window closes and we can easily forget how it felt to be “untethered.”
But the work is also, inevitably, about Martha and myself. I am always there as the photographer, as her step-mother, as mentor and friend, but where I am and where I place myself is harder to place as she grows and moves further away from her childhood. The exchange of looks between us, that complex reflected gaze, begins to shift as she tries to define her own sense of self, to decide who she is becoming.
Through the process of working together on this series, we have journeyed into each other’s psychological landscapes as we explore what our relationship means. We mirror one another’s wounds: both our mothers loved us but were absent. This became the common ground to move forward from. (Siân Davey)
About the Artist:
Siân Davey is a British photographer based in the South West of England who recently completed her MFA in photography at Plymouth University with Jem Southam and David Chandler. Sian s background is in Fine Art and Social Policy. She was previously a psychotherapist for 15 years. In 2015 her work was shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, the Daylight Photo Awards, the Bar Tur Book Award at The Photographers’ Gallery, Fresh Faced + Wild Eyed at The Photographers’ Gallery, the 33rd Annual Juried Membership Exhibition, Houston Centre of Photography, and she was a finalist in the Renaissance photography prize.
About the Publisher:
Trolley Books is an independent UK publisher, specialising in art and photography books. Areas covered by Trolley include social reportage, photojournalism/current affairs and contemporary art and architecture.
Founded in September 2001 by Gigi Giannuzzi and based in Fitzrovia London, Trolley Books concentrates on producing documentary photography books. It is “known for its controversial and left-of-centre exhibitions and photography and art books”. According to the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards (see the awards section below), Trolley presented “(an) exceptional and extraordinary group of books exploring a range of difficult subject matter… Trolley’s beautifully designed and produced books have a real sense of conviction and purpose that sets them apart.”
Trolley Books is the publishing arm of a family that also includes the Trolley Charitable Trust, whose aim is to support long term photographic projects which result in a Trolley publication, and TJ Boulting, the exhibition space on Riding House Street run by directors Gigi Giannuzzi and Hannah Watson.