Reflections – Tom Hussey

In this series of photographs, Tom Hussey explores the use of past projections and the ageing population in a similar way that Gregg Segal does in his series ‘Remembered’. However, it is not clear whether their is a connection between the sitters of the photographs as Hussey does not add any context to the images that are displayed on his website. It is clear though that he has put a photograph of a younger version of the sitter in the mirrors as a reflection. Both in the literal sense and how as we get older we reflect on the past; this is a very nostalgic collection with the past projections being optimistic without a hint of regret. On the other hand, the setting of the ‘present’ in some photographs aren’t exactly shocking, but it does make a viewer consider how much longer they have of their lives. Yet, in the ‘present’ it is not as if the elderly are unhappy with their lives; they do not appear to be longing to be young.

Tom Hussey

These photographs are obviously manipulated. However I am a little sceptic to how much: the reflections do look a lot like the person in the present day and I can’t question whether it is a true authentic image. I suppose my criticism is that considering the age of some of the elderly, the photographs of their past would not be in colour. Thus the black and white images have been manipulated into colour. This is a sort of bent truth.

This made me think about the lecture I had on Friday about photographic morals and how much we should be sacrificing to make award winning pictures. Paul Smith gave us the example of Kevin Carter and his image Vulture Watches Starving Child (1993); he took that image and won prizes for that, but he committed suicide for the message he sent and how he took advantage of other’s suffering (although his messaged meant that donations to charities increased).

Kevin Carter, 1993

Hussey has won awards for his photographic bodies of work. But I can’t help but wonder whether his images are ‘true’: some of the photographs seem sort of too perfect such as in this:

Tom Hussey

It almost seems too convenient with the eye line: it does not appear to have been an authentic photograph to use. Therefore I wonder whether there has been a lot of artistic licensing, manipulating faces to look like the sitter. If so, is this truth? Is Hussey really I suppose taking advantage of these people for an award? I suppose I am being a little critical.

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