The Honeymoon Project
I never knew my mother.
She died when I was very young, about three or four years old.
This is my father.
During his lifetime my father rarely spoke about her, so she, and their life together is a mystery to me.
Anyhow, after they met and fell in love, they eloped to England and married there, far from home in South Africa.
That was in 1958.
They went on honeymoon in a Volkswagen Beetle, my father's pride and joy. He even brought it back when they returned to South Africa.
He kept the car's British numberplate in a drawer in his study. I still have it.
Then, when I emptied out the cupboards in my father's house after he died twenty years ago, I came across a small box of tiny photos. Most of them were honeymoon photos taken while they were traveling through England and Europe in their Volkswagen.
In fact, the Beetle featured in many of the photographs.
For almost two decades I kept the box packed away.
Occasionally I'd take them out and look at the photos, then put them back.
Then, a year or two ago, an idea for a photobook based on my parents' honeymoon photos started forming in my head.
It would be a road trip story of their honeymoon as they drove through post-war Europe in one of the world's most recognisable cars.
The project is a way of imagining my mother without having known her well. The photos tell much not only of the places they traveled to, (like Venice, which I've often visited) but even about their relationship and characters.
And about that Beetle, which appears and sets the tone in most photographs...
The project also relates to my own love of traveling, photography and making photo albums and scrapbooks of our journeys. I'm still trying to work out how the two interrelate - that's part of my own journey, making this photobook.
While putting the book together is obviously a curation exercise, I'm also experimenting with ideas of presentation. So I selected a few photos and, during Van Dyck Browne and salted paper workshops at the Alternative Print Workshop, scanned, enlarged and printed them to see the effect.
I'm in the process of selecting the photos that will appear in the book so they can be scanned. The photos are all no more than 6x4cm in size - about half the size of a postcard - so turning them into electronic images and trying to get the optimum quality requires some expertise.
Then, there's the option of returning to some of the places that appear in the photographs and photographing there. It may be interesting to juxtapose the two different 'worlds', as I've said before. I'm still trying to get a handle on that.
If you have a similar project, let me know, I'd like to hear from you.