March 1 – April 24, 2011
British photographer Heather McDonough, who lived across the street from Doris, got to know the elderly woman briefly when she went into her home to take her portrait.
After Doris died and the house was sold, McDonough went back to the house to take a series of photographs for a book project. “I wanted to show some of Doris’ personality and keep that essence of a person,” McDonough says. ” Doris is one life in one house in Britain. This study is not an in-depth history, but a glimpse of a private and very English life.”
“I made Doris as I am interested in things disappearing, change, and human remnants,” McDonough says. “We seem to make, or at least hope to make, an indentation or impression while we are alive, but once we are dead, unless this existence is documented or our objects preserved there is nothing left after our physical presence is gone. This is about how quickly we are lost.”
The book includes 22 full-page color close-up photographs of the wallpapers and textiles found in the house, as well as 14 family photographs from Doris’ archives and text by neighbors who knew Doris.
“It’s about what you see, wallpapers, dirt, traces, objects, time and space, flowers, flowers in everything -the curtains, the net curtains, her dresses,” McDonough says.
It’s also universal. “The house is a place where we dream, it is a place where we are sheltered and protected,” she adds. “Often when someone is describing their childhood memories or we are looking at someone else’s family photographs, we cannot help but bring our own memories to the fore, and immediately start recalling our own stories.”
McDonough is a freelance photographer, artist, filmmaker, curator, and lecturer based in London, England. For the past 10 years, she’s been creating portraits as part of her personal work, commissions, and exhibits, and is currently accepting commissions for books and magazines.