My own family is small, blasted apart by economic opportunities and poor romantic decisions. My immediate family is one sister in London, and my parents, divorced thirty years ago this year, and at opposite ends of the country. Outside of my immediate family are cousins, aunts, uncles who I know little or nothing of. On both sides, my parents are second generation Irish immigrants to London, which my parents left when job opportunities arose two hundred miles north. They took with them reasons for family rifts never healed, and the possibility of closeness to kin. Not that I begrudge them. I now live in a country which really couldn’t be further away from my birth country.
So I was amazed at the size of the Royal family reunion back at the end of 2015. All those people with shared blood, and similar looks. It has been one of the most rewarding pieces of work I’ve done, both in terms of the range of images made, and also knowing that memories of those days in years to come will, from time to time, be triggered by images made by me.
I’m thinking of those days now as another large family reunion approaches. It’ll be noisy and chaotic, helped not a lot by the weather forecast which is biblical. But it’ll be great. Coming from a small family, I love these big gatherings. Whether I would want it for myself, I can’t say. I imagine not. You come to value what you are used to, and I like my solitude. But I love being amongst it for an hour, a day, a weekend. It’s one of the joys of photography for me. To watch, learn and gain from so many different experiences I would otherwise know nothing of.