Over the course of a year (2005/06), I worked closely with a Christchurch firm of funeral directors and with families who had recently lost loved ones. The exhibition seeks to demystify a world that is often left to the imagination. The series of black and white photographs focus on the journey of the body from the time of death to burial or cremation. It’s not a linear narrative in the traditional sense but rather it is made up of multiple narratives covering a range of cultural experiences. My aim was not to be sensational or gratuitous; photography has played a central role in memorialising the dead since its invention.
I had a very personal motivation for wanting to go behind the scenes of a funeral home. I lost my mother at the age of seven. It was 1970.
The adults took charge and we weren’t included in the funeral. It’s an experience I’ve carried with me into adulthood. I’ve always wanted to know what her journey would have been and to say goodbye myself.