Above: Nan, Iris Clarke, in uniform.
My Project in a Nutshell
I am very close to my Nan, she is 93 years old and despite having a stroke quite recently, she is as fit as a fiddle in her mind and memories. Nan is a great storyteller and I love to hear her tales of War time Britain. She lived close to London during the war and her mum was from East London. Nan was in her early 20’s when she left home and took a post within The Auxiliary Territorial Service, making her way up to and retiring as a Sergeant. Although not a spy herself, she talks often about the life of young female spies, especially those in the SOE (Special Operations Executive, aka Churchill’s Secret Army) whose missions and bravery are beyond belief. I have researched the life of these agents, among others during the course of my studies. My project is a celebration of my relationship with Nan and it seems, the bravery of the agents I have discovered.
As a fictional spy, I take on a surreal and abstract journey through my Nan’s memories, her stories of others and of agents based in Innsbruck (where I now live). I visit relevant places (one example is the finding of the old Messerschmitt factory, buried deep within a mountain here), spaces and people leaving trails of colour to represent my presence, or as my fictional agent self..without revealing my face or true identity. The photographic studies have an air of mystery, femininity and delicacy to celebrate the relationship between Nan and I.
In addition to my blog, my Flickr site exhibits many of my photo albums for this project.