Self Absented Portraiture - Nigel Shafran

I had a look at the series ‘Washing Up’ which is the only piece of the chapter that was created by a man and also had a look at other images on his website. My first impression is that he spends a lot of time at home, with a small child. This can make you quite isolated, but also focus on details that otherwise might seem pretty trivial. His images are mostly taken in his home and his village. It is quite impressive that he is able to pinpoint what makes the every day unique for every person.

I was not really surprised that the images were taken by a man, they are obviously taken by somebody who is at home a lot and in general it’s the women who do that, but I don’t find the images particularly feminine. 

It's a bit hard to say whether gender contributes to an image, I think it’s mostly a photographer’s personality that defines what the images look like, but gender has an impact on personality, experiences and opportunities in life and will therefor naturally impact images that are made. 

Sharon’s Washing Up shows that through portraying certain habits and rituals, you can get to know a lot about the people that are part of it, without seeing them. Because of the repetition, you discover which elements are returning, which ones change over time and this triggers questions and clues about character traits and family habits. 

I don’t find the images particularly interesting on their own, but in a series they work very well, because that’s when you start to read about the people behind the images and that’s when they start to convey more about the habits and etiquettes. 

Washing-up 2000 [2000]: Nigel Shafran (no date) Available at: http://nigelshafran.com/category/washing-up-2000-2000/ (Accessed: 29 March 2016)