In the Shadow of Things by Léonie Hampton, 2011

In the Shadow of Things explores her family’s attempts to clear her mother’s house, which had become overwhelmed by objects. In 2007, a deal was struck: Léonie would help her mother unpack the boxes and attempt to deal with the past, with the tacit understanding that she be allowed to document that process. The result was a tide of emotions that erupted when this landscape of possessions was disturbed. The work is a personal study of the emotional impact that OCD can have on both the sufferer and their immediate family. It explores the delicate, troubled and loving relationship between mother and daughter, and a mother and her possessions.

“Leonie Purchas follows her family in their daily lives as she visits them, but reveals in an extraordinary freshness of approach, working in a flexible and natural way, using colour and ambient light, and no artificial effects. This lets her garner moments of tenderness, children’s games, instants of anguish and pain, things in a mess and then things neatly stacked. She does all this with a subtlety of colour which makes each instant unique, whether shot inside or outside; she does all this without creating any sort of show, displaying instead an elegant and simple capacity to change the distance from which she photographs, free from all dogmatism and always finding the right tone and angles.
Her work presents us with neither a carefully constructed ‘project’ didactic in intent, nor a sketchbook of impressions. It simply invites us to share emotions, instants, scraps of life articulated in a natural fashion within the framework of the family, which is the only constraint Leonie Purchas seems to impose on herself. This is not a narrative or a story, strictly speaking. Rather, it follows life and its threads as they weave together; taking us far beyond mere demonstration and making us each look into the real world”

Christian Cajoulle. Read the entire review.

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