Renewal – Nature & Nurture
20 Giclee Prints on Hanhemühle Photo Rag Paper.
For this exhibition, I am showing as part of a small group that chose to make work inspired by the theme of Renewal.
I’m an adventurous photographer, my ambitions usually exceed my practical ability but that doesn’t seem to get in the way. I’ve been exploring photography for a couple of years, and this is the first time I’ve made work in response to a theme.
“Nature gives us the canvas, but it is nurture that paints the picture.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
I have an interest in psychology and in particular the parent/child dynamics. The power of nature and nurture within a parent/child relationship and how this sustains elements of appearance, character, and psychology through the generations. I’m one of two sisters who each have two daughters and for the last 12 years I have been able to observe how this concept plays out as their daughter have grown up and developed. There seems to be a constant dialogue, sometime tussle, between the innate power of nature and the influence of nurture. I’ve seen the mother renewed in the child through natural traits and the behavioural and emotional development as a result of nurturing. The child within the mother is renewed through interactive experiences with their child and, eventually the child becomes a parent. And so it goes on…
“Nature and nurture are not mutually exclusive; they work together to shape our development.” – David C. Geary
How to express this visually? In this work, I’ve photographed three generations of my family. You see their natural portraits and then a variety of subtly manipulated images where the eyes have been moved around between subjects. The eyes seemed the most relevant thing to use as the symbol of change as they are the only organ in your body that is the same size from birth to death (nature) and are also considered to be the window to your soul (nurture). I chose stark expressions and almost colourless prints which are displayed in a sort of surreal family portrait gallery.
I print on Hanhemühle Photo Rag paper, no mounts, matt black frames, and no glass. These are all conscious decisions to enhance the unusual and to draw the view into the image,
Nature versus nurture is a debate concerning the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities (“nature,” i.e. nativism, or innatism) versus personal experiences (“nurture,” i.e. empiricism or behaviourism) in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioural traits.