Friends and family enter Nigel
Grimmer’s photographic work through his continual reworking of
the family album format. Disrupting our expectations of “traditional”
family portraiture Grimmer obscures the identities of his models, protecting
them from the viewer’s gaze; his family are pictured turning their
backs to the camera, or masking themselves with a variety of disguises
Although the identities of Grimmer’s subjects are hidden the photographs
are still taken at traditional “snapshot moments” and perform
the function of mementos of important social exchanges between Grimmer
and his entourage.
While his family takes on the roles of dead animals (Roadkill Family Album)
or naughty children (The Dunces) Grimmer himself is replaced by his avatar
‘Nigel Doll’. This miniature reproduction of the artist accompanies
him on his travels and is photographed in front of various landmarks,
dispensing with the risk of Grimmer trusting a stranger with his camera.
Slowly, the doppelganger usurps Grimmer from his own snapshot album.
Grimmer quotes Susan Sontag’s “Time’s Relentless Melt”
as an allusion to the cyclical nature of the family album and the continual
shifting of meaning within the imagery; the subjects of his new photographs
are replaced by a younger generation, they appear lost, censored, or forgotten
from a sometimes fragile memory.
ESSAY BY Michael Wright (word)