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Shadows & Reflections at Caught by the River

Adelle has written a new column on found family photographs buried in the garden shed for Caught by the River's Shadows & Reflections series...

"Following my father’s unexpected crossing of the River Styx in early summer, and the unsettling excavation of thirty years’ worth of newspapers, bills, broken objects and tinned food from his house, I came across a series of photographs buried beneath piles of mouse droppings in his garden shed. These were the belongings of my beloved Nana Meg, which were left to him more than a decade ago and had been there ever since.

The images, almost sepia since their development in the early part of the 20th century, had names written on the back in her distinctive handwriting – some taken of distant family members in studios, others on seaside holidays, or in back gardens, wearing new clothes. Unlike today’s disposable digital imagery, photographs were a luxury back then, often taken to mark an occasion. Diane Arbus once said, ‘A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.’ I wondered what I could interpret from these collected snapshots that had miraculously been preserved in the cold and damp – and were now beginning to fade..."


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