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Oh, Alison, my aim is true.
June 24, 2008 9:42 AM   Subscribe

"When my daughter Alison was born, in the tradition of a new parent, I began to photograph her, initially in a separate and private body of work. However, in the process of documenting Alison's growth, I developed a passionate interest in human relationships and capturing intimate moments in the lives of family and friends...." A haunting photographic essay from Jack Radcliffe.
posted by dersins (42 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also.
posted by dersins at 9:48 AM on June 24, 2008


That was pretty interesting. It was slightly creepy, though.
posted by tadellin at 9:50 AM on June 24, 2008


I wonder how much of the "haunting" quality of this is the photographer's eye. It appears this girl was never happy.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:51 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Intriguing site, brilliant post title. Good job. I can't wait to look through the rest of his galleries.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:00 AM on June 24, 2008


My photographs of Alison, because of the nature of our relationship, are very much a father-daughter collaboration-Alison permitting me access to private moments of our life, which might, under different circumstances, be off-limits to a parent

No kidding. If my parents caught me smoking like that I'd have been dead.
posted by The Gooch at 10:07 AM on June 24, 2008


I'd have been dead just for all the scowling.
posted by scody at 10:13 AM on June 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Wow. Really the evolution of a smoker. Its depressing to see she still hasn't quit. Can't wait for the chemo series
posted by zia at 10:18 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It appears this girl was never happy.

Really? She looked somber to me, but not unhappy.
posted by Forktine at 10:20 AM on June 24, 2008


Here she is singing at an exhibition of her father's photography. She has one of the deepest voices I've ever heard from a woman.
posted by harperpitt at 10:22 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


She did not seem happy. Hard to tell if that was just a result of the picture selection, but girl had sad eyes.
posted by rooftop secrets at 10:38 AM on June 24, 2008


Some people are just naturally melancholy. I mean seriously, she dressed like a Goth and grew up in what appears to be Glen Burnie! Anyway she smiles at the end of the harperpitt video.
posted by stbalbach at 10:45 AM on June 24, 2008


It appears this girl was never happy.

"You're so pretty, why don't you smile more?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:50 AM on June 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I miss smoking sometimes. I was never good at it. Or maybe i never expressed myself with cigarettes in this way. I like breathing, though.
posted by poe at 11:07 AM on June 24, 2008


I hope that my own series with my daughters turns out as well as this.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:11 AM on June 24, 2008


She has one of the deepest voices I've ever heard from a woman.

Apparently YouTube deletes all Venture Bros clips.
posted by DU at 11:15 AM on June 24, 2008


I'm often characterized by strangers as looking angry or unhappy, even when I'm not... it's just the way that some people's faces are made. I borrowed the phrase "walking frown" from Star Trek (used to describe Worf) to sum it up.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:17 AM on June 24, 2008


I can't possibly know anything about the true nature of their relationship, but you know she must have been happy at some points in her life. Nevertheless, these photographs - photos always taken by her father - don't show this. Is she never happy around her father?
posted by katillathehun at 11:20 AM on June 24, 2008


The photographs are sort of interesting in a documentary way (although I have my own relations to watch grow up), but the photographs are mediocre. Conceptually one-dimensional with ultra-conservative composition. They'd be stock photos if anyone ever smiled.
posted by cmoj at 11:24 AM on June 24, 2008


DU: http://www.adultswim.com/video/?episodeID=1073501cc214b0b07a4fd00d42eb21bd

I did enjoy this photographic series, although I do agree the photos aren't all that interesting, the process and idea is more interesting than the photographs themselves.
posted by sir_rubixalot at 11:26 AM on June 24, 2008


She smiles nicely at the end of this fine performance too. Did you "she doesn't smile" folks really spend your teenage years grinning? She looked like a normal, neurotic kid to me. And hell, she became a musician, what do you want?
posted by languagehat at 11:27 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


whoa - that is one weird voice from a lady.
posted by forallmankind at 11:27 AM on June 24, 2008


Wow, those pictures of her in the late 80s and early 90s look uncannily like pictures of me from around the same time. No wonder my mom was always so stressed.
posted by padraigin at 11:51 AM on June 24, 2008


Vagaries of neutral facial structure, mood, etc. all notwithstanding, it's hard to imagine the daughter of a photographer being anything less than hyperaware of how a whole lot of people tend to react to photographs: by mugging like loons, or, worse, putting on a Camera Smile. There could easily be an aspect of refusal to go down that road in play here.

Quietly, even just subconciously refusing to smile for the camera may not be any more candid than insisting on posing, but it's a breath of fresh air.

And a girl with alto pipes who can play keys is a goddam asset, on the musical side of things.
posted by cortex at 11:52 AM on June 24, 2008


padraigin - I was thinking exactly the same thing. Also - she did great eye makeup, if I had known her I'd be borrowing her liner, and cigs.
posted by dabitch at 11:56 AM on June 24, 2008


She did not seem happy.

They'd be stock photos if anyone ever smiled.

I disagree.
posted by xod at 12:06 PM on June 24, 2008


If you look at the other photo sets on the website, all his subjects seem to have that same expression. I wonder what the photographer is going for with this.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2008


This expression equals this one?
posted by xod at 1:28 PM on June 24, 2008


OK, I should have said what seems to be a majority, or very many, or a lot, many seem quite similar although they may not to you. And seriously, what is the photographer trying to go for. I see a theme, I'm not trying to be a jerk. Is he trying to capture something specific in this expression.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2008


She's just a bit younger than me, and we grew up in the same area, and wow, does she look like a lot of me and my friends at that time. Huh. Weird to see how other people saw us.

I agree that she doesn't necessarily look unhappy, just not SMILING! For the CAMERA!
posted by desuetude at 1:56 PM on June 24, 2008


Belle, For me, he seems to be trying to get as close as possible to his subjects, including the capture of transparently intimate moments as well as opaque, inner reflection.
posted by xod at 1:58 PM on June 24, 2008


Looks like she hung with real "winners". No wonder she looks rode hard and put away wet.
posted by dasheekeejones at 4:33 PM on June 24, 2008


Looks like she hung with real "winners". No wonder she looks rode hard and put away wet.

Thanks for dropping by to class up the joint with your witty observations, dasheekeejones.
posted by dersins at 4:38 PM on June 24, 2008


Nice. That's a really solid contribution there.
posted by cortex at 4:41 PM on June 24, 2008


Cortex, obviously you haven't read Metafilter long enough to see that it's full of "solid contributions" after each and every post.

Dersins, lighten up.

The point is that she was a beautiful girl and something happened where she aged a little too much. Was it depression, poverty, her smoking, or her relationships?

Sorry if you are too sensitive to hear a blunt observation.
posted by dasheekeejones at 8:04 AM on June 25, 2008


Oh and Dersins, your avatar in your profile--way classier than a "rode hard" comment.
posted by dasheekeejones at 8:05 AM on June 25, 2008


It's not so much the bluntness as it is the presumptuousness. You basically shat on this girl's friends and life based on something that I think folks are far from even agreeing is there. Which, I mean, say what you will, but it comes off pretty shitty.
posted by cortex at 8:16 AM on June 25, 2008


Sorry if you are too sensitive to hear a blunt observation.

Ah, dersins is a weakling for taking offense to your "blunt," classless, insulting, sexist opinion. Cortex is merely is to be chided on how Metafilter works.
posted by desuetude at 9:30 AM on June 25, 2008


Cortex, point taken. But from people far from even agreeing, no one ever said that she looked sad/depressed (thus her features have changed significantly over the years).


Desuetude, not sure how my comment is sexist. Men and women can be rode hard and put away wet. Take Pete Doherty, for instance.
posted by dasheekeejones at 9:54 AM on June 25, 2008


She looks like some of my friends from high school, yeah. Except it was the 80s, so they were punks or hippies, not goth-y. (Not that there weren't any Back in the Day, but really not any I can think of at my h.s.)

She doesn't look....like what dasheekejones said. She looks like a slightly disaffected teenager who's trying to seem grown-up and serious/cool, or is (or is pretending to be) irritated at Dad for following her around with a camera.
posted by rtha at 10:51 AM on June 25, 2008


She looks like a slightly disaffected teenager who's trying to seem grown-up and serious/cool, or is (or is pretending to be) irritated at Dad for following her around with a camera.

Yes. This reminds me of what would happen if you printed out all the pictures of my sister that my dad has taken. She gets a very specific expression when he's taking a picture of her -- it's an expression that says "oh for the love of mike, stop stop stop stop don't take my damn picture why can't you stop it with the pictures already when you see that I hate it".
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:19 AM on June 25, 2008


Oh and Dersins, your avatar in your profile--way classier than a "rode hard" comment.

I can't tell if you're actually so tone deaf that you think a playful sketch of a barfing kitty is equivalent to criticizing the appearance of a woman you've never met by saying she looks "rode hard and put up wet," or if you're just being disingenuous. Please advise.
posted by dersins at 12:17 PM on June 25, 2008


I don't necessarily think any of the photos individually are great, but that doesn't mean this isn't a great photo essay. Sometimes the whole is great than the sum of its parts and I think that is very true hear. You definitely get a sense of who she is, hard to say how accurate, but given that she seems to support it and it was done by his father, I think there is at least a good chance he hit it pretty close to the mark.
posted by whoaali at 8:02 PM on June 25, 2008


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