A recent graduate from Bolton University in first class honours degree in photography, Janet Goulden‘s most recent project explored infant mortality.
“After recently gaining a first class honours degree in photography at Bolton University, I am currently working on projects that occur within my family domain. My most recent project explored infant mortality, one of the most taboo subjects in our society today. The idea of producing photographs after death, or of death, is controversial although there is a long tradition of photography of this subject. The imagery is often of a private and personal nature and therefore forced into family albums and kept out of the public domain. My interest in photography lies with the family album, a form of vernacular photography that is part of the domestic sphere. As a photographer I am interested in projects that depict my own and my family’s life. I am very much drawn to the ‘punctum’ of an image.”
“My body of work is in two parts: Firstly, a family album, created for my daughter and her partner after the stillbirth of their daughter, Rosie Mikala. This piece of work uses the typical form of an album because the images are of a sensitive nature, and I think they should be viewed in the context for which they were created. The images serve as a memorial for Rosie Mikala but also show the pain that many parents suffer in the loss of a child. As a photographer and member of the family, I found myself rejecting any rules of photography, only using the camera as witness and recorder of what was happening. According to Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) almost one in every 100 births in the UK results in the stillbirth or death of a baby in the early weeks of life in the UK, so this is an experience of many, yet it is ‘invisible’. My work makes it visible, exposing painful and intimate experiences usually remaining private.”
My influences came from Max Kandhola and Colin Gray who both presented us with images of mortality within the family. I also explored the work of Gunther Von Hagen’s, and found that this had a profound visual effect on some of the items I was buying after the loss of the baby. In the future I aim to continue documenting issues within the family alongside a range of other subjects.