My Mother's Kitchen

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My Mother's Kitchen

Postby Maris » 14 Aug 2020, 10:37

My Mother's Kitchen
Gelatin-silver photograph on Agfa MCC 111 VC FB photographic paper exposed in contact with a 8"X10" Tmax 400 negative from a Tachihara 810HD triple extension field view camera fitted with a 121mm f8 Schneider Super-Angulon lens.

The kitchen and the dining space beyond are a budget 1960's design that was never changed apart from the floor which shows three different surfaces of vinyl and carpet.

This is my mother's kitchen the day after she departed on the ineluctable journey into mortality via a nursing home and various hospitals. The place is spotless, there is no dust. The funny mugs still line up above the door on the left. The refrigerator purrs quietly and the biscuit barrel on top of it contains chocolate creams. The kettle on the table invites tea-making and the bowl of fruit on the bench beyond beckons deliciously. Candles and candelabras are ready to hand if the lights fail at night. The heat is off and the room is cold but bright with the same morning light that has caressed the window and lace curtains for the last forty years. Her old spectacles are in their usual place on the bench. She has taken her new pair to the place she is going.

I ask myself in what state I would leave my house knowing that I will not be coming back. And you, what would you do?

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Barry Kirsten
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Joined: 27 Feb 2015, 11:13
Location: Brookfield, Vic.

Re: My Mother's Kitchen

Postby Barry Kirsten » 14 Aug 2020, 16:03

A very thought-provoking question, Maris. My house reflects my busy life; with so much on the go I'm afraid all of my areas are a mess and I wouldn't know where to begin getting things in order for my departure. I admire very much your mother's wish to leave everything in order. I think it's difficult to predict how one would would react in those circumstances. Perhaps nearer to the time I might be more prepared mentally and 'get my house in order'. But I don't know... I have considered how my early departure might affect my wife, as she'd inherit the jumble of my office, my darkroom and my workshop; and I know she wouldn't cope with that very well.

It seems to me that your mother must have an abundance of inner strength and peace in making her kitchen spotless as always then leaving it for the last time. I sense this in your photograph. My thoughts are with your mother.

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Joined: 30 Sep 2012, 21:03
Location: Melbourne

Re: My Mother's Kitchen

Postby Warmtone » 14 Aug 2020, 20:14

There’s a palpable sense of presence in this image as if someone has just stepped out for a while to put washing in the line.
The kettle waiting for the next cup of tea, the chair waiting for someone to be seated defies the ticking of the clock quietly edging towards departure time.

When my own mother left our family home at 94 it was for two weeks respite at Aged Care - so it didn’t occur to me to capture a note of finality.
A Subsequent fall and onset of Dementia sealed her fate and she never left the Aged Care Home.

We are reminded through this sad image that we all have a future departure date and we must make the best of our limited time.

Walter Glover
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Joined: 31 Jul 2012, 22:31
Location: Leichhardt, NSW

Re: My Mother's Kitchen

Postby Walter Glover » 17 Aug 2020, 05:44

Well gentlemen, let me assure you in no uncertain terms that when rushed off to work on the morning of Friday, December 6, 2019 I left a clean, but mildly chaotic flat, fully intending to change the cat tray and wash-up on the weekend. Such was never to be, as you know. Now it is the room in my care facility that is in a messy shambles because, with lockdown, nobody can come in and straighten all my stuff, the carers are not allowed to do it and, of course, I am no longer able to stand or walk. But ...... one day it will happen.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

Mick Fagan
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Joined: 24 Sep 2015, 21:20
Location: Melbourne

Re: My Mother's Kitchen

Postby Mick Fagan » 18 Sep 2020, 14:09

Very well chosen lighting, meaning you left the light just above the camera off, with the far light on to highlight the dining room.

The darkened corners of the image look perfect, nothing like having help from the lens itself, eh? :D

That kitchen certainly looks like many kitchens I have lived in, including the one in our house when we moved in 34 years ago. Our kitchen had been installed in 1961 when the people who sold the house to us moved in, it looked eerily like your mother's kitchen.


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