Architecture - NOMINEE: Mandy Williams
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The series about Fairways began last August although at the time I was unaware of it. I had travelled down from London to stay overnight at my father’s house in Sussex and as we waited for the ambulance to arrive, the early morning light passed through the rooms. It was so beautiful and unexpected that for a moment I felt hopeful. I took a photograph before we left.
Neither of us had any idea that when we went to the hospital that morning my father would remain there for seven weeks and would never see his home again. There were talks of carers, of nursing homes, assisted living, but there was always the hope that he would be able to continue his life as independently as possible.
My father had lived alone for the past eleven years in a small modern bungalow a mile from the sea. It had been decorated by my mother a long time ago and was full of warm tones, of pinks and oranges that glowed in sunlight. As my father had made only a few changes to his home over the years I always felt close to both of them when I visited.
While he was in hospital he occasionally asked me to go to the house and I realised I wanted to take some photographs. Part of me sensed that he wouldn’t be coming home now and that this would be my only chance to record it while he was alive and his presence was there. That quiet time, slowly walking through the rooms with my camera, was also a way for me to cope with him being ill. I didn't want to photograph his personal objects. I only wanted to record the essence of the home, its space and light. The sun streamed through the house as the summer ended and the rooms seemed to burst with colour. It felt wrong that the weather was so beautiful.
And then there was a time when I didn’t go at all. Summer became autumn, leaves fell in the garden and settled beside the door. I thought about the house every day, how empty it was.
In the winter much of the house looked the same as when my father was there but the light was weaker and colder and entered the rooms differently; the colours were subdued. It still felt like my father’s house but for how much longer? I went every week to pack boxes, trying to quantify the meaning of the objects around me when everything had emotion. The clutter in the rooms was unsettling. As furniture was rearranged and personal belongings were packed away my memories were disrupted. It felt too soon to turn this home into something else. I photographed the lines, the light and the space so they won’t be forgotten, the colours, reflections and patterns that flowed between rooms. I took photographs each time I visited, trying to capture the last small details that made this place my father’s home.
I am a London-based artist working with photography and video. I’m interested in new approaches to landscape photography and the psychology of place. In my recent work I have documented environmental issues (Riverbed Stories), and created semi-fictional landscapes using Google Street View (Unseen Landscape). I regularly exhibit my work in the UK and Europe and have been recently published in #Photography, KALTBLUT Magazine, Another Place Magazine, and Plateform Magazine. I was awarded the Photography prize at the Royal West of England Academy in 2015, and took 3rd place in the International Photographer of the Year Award 2016 in the Architecture Interior category.