I moved to America from Australia more than 10 years ago. I see my family once a year, maybe twice. That first moment of reuniting is always fascinating.
What will they look like, how will they change? When we live each other daily we don't see the change - it just happens.
What do you think about when you look at these portraits?
The degree of liking or disliking photos of ourselves depends on how closely they match not our real self, but our ideal self. We joke about our changing body shape, wrinkles and sagging necklines. Most of us would just like to travel through the journey of life without our bodies letting us down either through getting sick or showing the physical signs of ageing. The close-up portraits that you regularly take show my physical ageing, but inside I remain my essential self with all the wants, needs and plans that I have always had – I am no different to when I was younger! Life’s journey is on a fast track, and I do not spend much time looking in the mirror. When I do look or see photos I ask myself: who is this woman looking back at me; do I know her; where did she come from; and how crazy she is to let someone document her ageing face!
Do you have a favorite image and which do you like the least?
The images I least like are the ones from when I was sick and always the last one taken. I treated my cancer as something that just had to be dealt with and was not to disrupt my life. All through my cancer treatment, I carried on with my normal family and working life. When I see that woman with the bald head I, again, get pulled up with, ‘did I look that sick, oh dear!’
I never like the latest photo of myself, but photos taken a few years earlier are always viewed with some affection as we reflect and remember times gone. It becomes a bit of a vicious circle; ten years on the ones we take today will look good!!
Are you okay with me shooting these for the years to come?
I agreed to the collaboration when you first asked and have accepted that the portraits will continue. I have always said that no other photographer would have stood a chance of me accepting participation in this, hopefully, long-term project.
Why do you choose green glasses?
The choice to wear green glasses simply started with no particular colour or design in mind when looking for my first pair of reading glasses. I came across this interesting pair that came in red or green. The green turned out to be a good departure from the standard frames and even became a signature colour for when I was running my social planning consultancy.
What is the process like when being photographed?
The process is always a bit of a circus as the portraits are always on the end of a trip when you come home, or I visit the US. These are portraits taken for strangers or future generations will have of me, but I have little time to run to the hairdressers or apply makeup, which would be nice. I often ask you to Photoshop my wrinkles and if you find one of those renegade facial hairs, but we are true to the art, and hence they are la natural.
Have you shared these images with friends or family, if so what comments have you received?
I do not make a point of showing them as I think I treat them as part of one of your projects, rather than family snaps. The interesting thing is I am hardly in the family snaps as I am the photographer when you are not home in Australia. However, once you put some of the portraits on Facebook and the response was very positive.
We just photographed your mother together with you, what do you think when you see the images of your mum and you together?
We both look old!! The interesting thing though I can see that I am starting to look like my mother, which is fine.