Emer Gillespie, an Irish artist/photographer based in England, has been working since 2008 on a project with her daughter called Picture You, Picture Me. The idea is that she gives up control of the camera and lets her daughter, Laoisha, direct her.
“As a photographer it is often hard to let go of the control and ownership you have over your images, so this was an exciting but at times confusing project,” Emer said. “We were creating the images together, yet I was the editor.”
Picture You, Picture Me has been going on for a few years now, and Emer says it’s been interesting to see Laoisha grow up as the project continues. Not only have Laoisha’s tastes changed, going from flying kites and playing to makeup and hairstyles, but she’s also taking more control of the photography.
“She is becoming more visually aware when looking down into the viewfinder, and so is taking more and more control of the images taken,” she said.
Picture You, Picture Me has received critical acclaim and has been exhibited in cities all over the world like New York and London. Which Emer thinks Laoisha probably feels pretty comfortable with at this point.
“She probably thinks it’s completely normal,” Emer said. “She really enjoys looking through the images together, as essentially they mainly focus on activities she loves.”
Emer is clear that the project will only go on as long as Laoisha still likes doing it and has fun with it, which is way more important to Emer than the finished product.
“I’d like to make a book for her 18th birthday,” she said. “If the project continues to then, I would be delighted.”
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