One artist I was interested in looking at was Deirdre O’Callaghan on her “Hide that Can” project. This book was based over four years at Arlington House, Camden, a hostel that accommodates male Irish emigrants (Trolleybooks.com). Usually sad, interspersed with humour and the men drinking away, the book shows a journey of bringing back these men to their families that they have not seen in over 40. (Google Books) However at the same time, O’Callaghan still tries to give dignity to the men of Arlington House via making this work in a light that we possibly might not have seen before. (Collections.vam.ac.uk)
What I find particularly interesting about this series is how O’Callaghan goes about to make sure that these men are represented in the proper way. From flicking through the images, I begin to see what O’Callghan was saying by giving them dignity; throughout the book this theme seems to run throughout, as each man seems to have the humanity and dignity that they deserve. Even though they have had completely different life’s to society, they are still and strong characters. They all deserve to be heard in the community, and I feel like that the book definitely sets off to bringing a positive viewpoint towards a poignant, hidden existence that is so often ignored by the rest of the population. (Bigactive.com) A lot of this comes back down to how Social Media conditions us to have a set view on how we should see these people on a daily basis without thinking of who they are as an individual.
What I found extremely interesting with this book was how O’callaghan didn’t just focus on the men completely; rather she showed off the objects and items that they interact with on a daily basis as well. They have been living in this Hostel for such a long time, it has become home for them almost, so the items are part of them as an individual. I definitely think that by having a direct focus on the objects is perhaps more interesting then a portrait of the men. Yes we get too see them and how they are and act; yet we just get a face value of them. We can never judge a book by its cover. These objects are the way of moving past that front impression and allow us to dig deep into what makes these people who they are.
Objects are underused as being able to be seen as a portrait of a person, so I definitely think that in my work I want to explore that avenue in making the objects the portraits to the stories that I am told.
Google Books,. ‘Hide That Can’. N.p., 2002. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.
Trolleybooks.com,. ‘** TROLLEY BOOKS ** Hide That Can’. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.
Collections.vam.ac.uk,. ‘Billy Brennan; Hide That Can | O’callaghan, Deirdre | V&A Search The Collections’. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.
Bigactive.com,. ‘Hide That Can – Books – Art Direction & Design – Big Active’. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.