The empty chair.
This either represents my Dad or me…

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”

The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley

There’s something incredibly rewarding about spending some time with your “old” family, especially in a foreign country and without the in-laws/partners. The past and the present are somehow merged, new family memories are formed which are separate from your “current” family and old jokes and family legends are regaled.

It was lovely to go on a holiday with my “old” family. You grow up, hopefully, within a loving family, and then you leave home and you create a family of your own whether that is on your own, with a partner, or with children of your own. Your old family remains, detached and dispersed from its original form, never quite reforming in person.

I see my family fairly often but we all live in different places: my mother still in Northampton where we were brought up, my sister in Middlesex, my brother in Suffolk and I in Oxfordshire. We’re missing one family member – our father – who died forty years ago in 1982, when we were young and he was just 52. It’s always in your mind to ask yourself what he would have thought of us now – and what he would have made of Lucca and the hot temperature! He wasn’t one for the sun or sitting out in it – unless it involved a cricket match.

Kodak Vision 500T

The film I used to take the shots is Kodak Vision 500T, which Northern Film Lab sell (or sold) on ebay. I think I rated the film at 500 iso but it was a very bright day so I may have rated it at 200. The pictures, nonetheless came out – and reveal a tired family, on the last day of four. There’s always something about that wait for the flight – and it doesn’t really help you feel comfortable or happy knowing that you’ve got to go home and your holiday is finished. We’re, for the most part, photographed at the Palazzo Pfanner, inside Lucca’s walls.

There’s a mixture of portraits here – typically I did some self-portraits in the windows and there’s even one not taken by me, of me, by my twin brother John.

Portrait of a Lady I.
My sister, Anne, reading the Palazzo Pfanner guide. It turns out that there were some very strange operations within the walls or at least some extremely odd surgical instruments. Plus Jane Campion’s Portrait of a Lady was also filmed here.
Portrait of a Lady II.
Deep in thought I.
This one is in Lucca’s circular “square” the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro.
Deep in thought II.
JP doing his wistful look. Perhaps he’s channelling Anne from earlier!
Glow bro’.
JP covered in some kind of angelic glow
Check me out.
My brother’s photo of me.
Double vision I.
Windows and a TLR. Self-portrait, please.
Double vision II.
Windows and a TLR. Self-portrait, please.
Feathers in my cap.
An attempt at an arty self-portrait.
All about my mother.
All about my mother II.

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