Blessed Things

I’ve been contemplating for some time now what it is that really captures me in a good portrait photograph. Whilst I have no doubt about my fascination for people and the stories that each and every one of us keep, and which make up such a huge part of who we are, I’ve begun to appreciate the use of material “things” as signifiers that can really bring a narrative to light.

In his book The Comfort of Things, a study of people, things and how their character can be read by the things they own and keep in their homes, Social Anthropologist Daniel Miller concludes; “You can ask people about themselves, but the results are often much less informative than one would like”. (Miller, 2008)

Instead, with observation and in my case, with photography and the effective use of appropriate signifiers, we can build a much more accurate picture of a person. Taking on this semiotic analysis approach, it’s allowed me to “get to know” the ancestors I sadly never got to meet, as I work on my family archive collection.

Lucy Rudge (1853-1928) My 2nd Great Grandaunt wearing a Victorian Mourning Brooch of an unknown soldier.
‘Brett Kilroe’ by Dan Winters

Pandora’s Box

Grandma’s Scarf

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