Picture You, Picture Me is a collaborative and explorative portrait project with my daughter Laoisha. Born in Galway Ireland in 2002, Laoisha has Downs Syndrome. As a consistent subject in my work, this series has naturally evolved from her curiosity and urge to stand on the other side of the camera, taking more control over me as the subject, and of the images taken. By directing each other through role-play and instruction, we decide how the other stands, which direction to face and even facial expressions, creating a playful environment where the camera becomes more than an artistic tool, but an instrument of amusement. The images are almost secondary to the experience, a fortunate by-product of the session shared.
By ceding a certain amount of authorial control, the resulting work creates an environment in which to explore the themes of collaborative creativity, child autonomy, trust and the relationship between subject and photographer. Is technical ability a prerequisite for creative control? Does the photographers participation as a subject influence the narrative? Can a reciprocal experience empower one to become a more trusting and genuine subject? These are just a few of the possible considerations this series instigates.
Picture You, Picture Me began as a curious journey for me and my daughter, and over the past five years has become a very personal documentation of our growth as individuals and as a family. This is our family album, one where I can see Laoisha grow as well as take ownership of her life and the camera. The project will continue to evolve as Laoisha’s visual language naturally develops, and will continue on until she either loses the desire to be the subject, or no longer wants me in the picture.
Emer Gillespie is an Irish photographer based in Brighton, UK. Graduating with an MA from LCC in 2009, her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including 'Family Narratives', RUA RED gallery Dublin, 'FFWE', Photographers Gallery, London, 'Altered States', Foley Gallery, New York, 'Shifting Perspectives', OXO tower, Southbank London and 'The Space Between' at the V&A Museum of Childhood.
2007 Domestication, The Basement Gallery, Dundalk, Ireland
2006 Exhaust me, Galway Arts Centre, Ireland
Selected Group Exhibitions & Projects
2013 The Space Between: The Lyrical and the Ordinary, V&A Museum of Childhood 2012 Photoville 2012 : FotoVisura's Women in Photography , Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York 2012Arles Photography Open Salon, Arles, France 2012 Open Now, Gallery of photography, Dublin 2012 Open Now, Belfast Photo Factory, Gallery Nine, Belfast 2011 Altered States, Foley Gallery, New York 2011 Shifting Perspectives, OXO Gallery, Southbank, London 2010 IPA, Best of Show, New York 2010 Home Truths, Brighton Photo Fringe 2010 Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed, Photographers Gallery, London (exh cat) 2010 Slide Nite, Photomonth, Krakow, Poland 2009 Shifting Perspectives, OXO Gallery, Southbank, London (exh cat) 2008 Trick or Treat, Imagine Arts Festival 2008, Waterford, Ireland 2008 XHIBIT 08, Davies Street, University of the Arts London (exh cat) 2008 Artists Film at the Collection, Usher Gallery, Lincolnshire (exh cat) 2007 Strikethrough at The Trafalgar, Trafalgar Square, London. www.strikethrough.org 2007 CROP, Cenral Saint Martins, Postgraduate Show, London (exh cat) 2006 Max5 Festival, Southwark 2006 Document, Millennium Arts building, NUIG, Ireland (exh cat) 2005 Video HM, Armory square, New York. 2005 Co-Lab, Tulca Arts Festival, Galway, Ireland 2005 The Fourth Floor, eNSO, Hynes Yard Car Park, Galway, Ireland 2005 Galway Film Fleadh, short film section, Galway, Ireland (exh cat) 2005 Praxis, Cork City of Culture 2005, Tig Fili Gallery, Cork, Ireland (exh cat) 2005 THE BOOK OF IDEAS, Art scene WAREHOUSE, Shanghai, China
Fellowships, Residencies & Awards
Top finalist in Fotovisura Grant 2013
Chosen as a Shots Young Photographer, 2008
Artist in residency, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, 2005/2006
Bank of Ireland student of the year, Cluain Mhuire Art college, Galway
Public Talks & Lectures
2012 Brighton Arts Forum talk
2009 LCC MA exhibition tour and discussions
2006 Textile 05, Kaunas Art Biennial, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland
2006 My Practice so far, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland
Teaching and Lecturing
2011- Present Photography Lecturer, Sussex Downs College, Lewes, UK
2010 – 2011 Visual Art Developer, Patcham High School, Brighton, UK
2005-2006 Artist in Residence, Cluain Mhuire, Galway, Ireland. Additional tutor to degree and diploma yr students.