Philip J Brittan has used photography to help to manage very personal emotions and memories. His latest book Ghosts Are Real was made after a difficult time of his life, when his mother had died, and the family has ‘fractured’. He took long night walks as ‘a kind of haven’ and based the images on feelings and emotions that came from these walks. The images are varied, many are colourful, some show obvious images, a tree, a tower block – while others show sudden flashes of colour that when examined carefully turn into a scene of trees, or birds or possibly a person. They are gloriously abstract. Brittan says, ‘Looking back, it seems clear to me that Ghosts Are Real is about the bruised relationship between the world and the self, with love providing my own protective shield, present everywhere, agile and invulnerable’ (Brittan, 2019).
The phrase ‘the bruised relationship between the world and the self’ says all there is needed about autobiographical work. If you can use any form of media to show this, you have made a worthwhile piece. You may have used direct images like those some of those by Elina Brotherus, they may be more complicated, just alluding to your story like the work of Teichmann, or in Brittan’s case totally abstract – but if they can express your story the exact nature of the work is irrelevant.
Brittan, P.J. (2019). Ghosts Are Real. PJB Editions.