Detail of Treated Photographic Self-Portrait


The work consists of thirteen large photographic self-portraits, which have been treated with iron filings and water to create scarring and encrustations of rust on their surfaces. This has left some the images barely readable as portraits. The photographs are suspended between floor and ceiling on wire ropes.

A complimentary series of thirteen smaller photographs are bound into a copper and leather book, which is placed within the installation for handling by the viewer. These photographs have been treated similar with rust, which comes off onto the hands of the reader. The warmth and intimacy of the book contrasts with the brittle, fragile and distancing quality fo the larger photographs.

At the heart of the piece is a concern with silence and pain. The images illustrate a process of scarring and decay, of loss of recognition and the irrevocable nature of damage.

Rusted Self Portrait Held Held Between Two Sheets Of Glass And Suspended Between Floor And Ceiling


The Same Self Portrait Seen From Behind Showing The Bleed Through From The Rust That Penetrated Through The Paper

There really is no way to sugarcoat the place where Preservation was born, it grew from my 4th and hardest miscarriage. It wasn’t a planned pregnancy none of them were, for years I’d suffered ‘Women’s Problems’ so another pregnancy was conceived and ended in silence. 

I was born on an island an island; named England so there is plenty of shore and it was shore I visited to walk away from pain. A shoreline with shipwrecks rusted and beaten and alone carrying cargo no more. I was a shipwreck a vessel corroded carrying cargo no more.

There was darkness reflected back in my image and it was hard to know if I was still there, sometimes I would glimpse the woman I once was, not knowing in that ebb and flow I would return and be washed up upon the shore.

I played with rust upon my reflection I saw on the shipwrecks how rust bites hard; leaving behind a fragility that flaked away in my hands; from a metal strong enough to build great buildings and bridges that span the there and the here. Exposure to nature can pay a hefty price. I brought in copper a metal that protects, it’s covering can also preserve iron in its throws of decay.

I’m not the first to lose a great loss and I will not be the last, my use of glass made your reflection prominant, you’d need to look hard to see mine beyond yours.

I worked with a chemistry professor and an engineer from the University College London to achieve what I wanted. From the decay I was creating I needed to know how to protect and preserve what I was damaging and their knowledge and our experimentation was instrumental in my works construction.

– The Artist –


Solid Copper cover & leather bound book of self portrait photographs

Protected and bound within Copper Book are photographic self-portraits treated with rust, on their pages punched through from behind are poems and not random words. Words from within punched through to be heard revealing decay caused from the hurt and injury a vessel left empty can feel. What’s left of a ship that can no longer carry? What’s left of a ship washed up on the shore never to sail again? A ship left barren for natures elements to decay.

Rusted self-portrait photograph bound as a page within the solid copper and leather bound book
Rusted self-portrait photograph seen from behind with the punched text
(Detail) Hammered Text on the Front of the Rusted Self-Portrait
(Detail) Hammered Text on the Rusted Self-Portrait Seen From Behind


Solid Copper cover & leather bound book of self portrait photographs


Preservation – A Vessel Corroded  –  as part of the Retrospective galleries was followed by the From Decay – An Untold Story (Silence of Domestic Abuse) Gallery.