Sunday 19 July 2009

David Plummer

All images © David Plummer

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.

It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.

Emily Dickinson, Pain has an Element of Blank (1924)

I found this work David Plummer sent me particulary interesting. As sensitive a portrayal it is of its subject, it really got me thinking about the politics of representation and, by natural extension, the relationship between the sitter and shooter in general, which is essential to portraiture. There are always ethical questions to consider. Do all parties consent to being photographed? Does everyone understand how their image will be used? Can one truly capture an unbiased and honest picture, let alone someone´s true identity?

Read about how David wrestles with these issues here in his artist statement:

"Feast of Losses is an ongoing series that documents David Pembroke, who in 2003 was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare brain disease that causes nerve endings at the base of the brain to die. There is no effective treatment or cure and like other neurodegenerative diseases, PSP gets worse over time.

These portraits offer us a psychologically direct approach through the use of different colour backgrounds, chosen by David Pembroke on a daily basis to help express his emotions after he lost the ability to use his facial muscles due to PSP.

The effect is an increased intimacy to the subject matter and continuous interaction of metaphor by focusing on David’s emotional and physical changes over time. As a result David Pembroke shows us the cycles of renewal and decay, gives us the facts and presents the possibilities of surprising transformations."

David Plummer, born in 1984, is from Cardiff, Wales graduated from the University of Wales: Newport with a BA First Class Honours in Documentary Photography. In 2009, he was awarded the Reginald Salisbury Photography Award to help fund an ongoing body of work ( in the Southern Hills of Hebron in the disputed West Bank of Israel, home to two thousand Palestinians, farmers and shepherds often referred to as Cave Dwellers.