Melissa Sheffield is a practicing Fine Art photographer. She is interested in experimental photography and the historical references that are inherent in traditional techniques and how this transfers to digital photography. Her current practice has resulted in residencies with the National Trust and Crop Up Gallery’s collaboration with the Quad gallery in Derby. Melissa is a Graduate of Coventry University, and undertook her Masters in Fine Art at Birmingham City University.
Held with Light (series 1-3)
The environment both physical and psychological have a wide and varied impact on who we are and our own early individual developmental journeys. In my series Held with Light I sought to explore these implicit terms.
Working with new parents and their infants at Banbury children’s centre I spent time in their environment seeking to uncover the moments that shape, reflect and define the ever changing experience of parent and child.
Whilst discussing this project with staff at the children’s centre I was directed to an important piece of writing on the subject of parent and child bonding ‘Ghosts in Nursery’ (Fraiberg, Adelson and Shapiro 1974). In this text uninvited guests from the past revisit to inform the parent/child bonding experience. Writing on the subject of epigenetics has also been important in understanding trauma and the function by which it can be an inherited trait.
Using the time spent with the families collecting interviews and photographs, researching text and working with neurologists from UCL who kindly provided MRI scan images for me to work with. My series of responses seek to explore the spacial and bodily forms both human and man made. Flattening the human form into silhouettes the environment is a constant. The places and space within which we spend time may have the capacity to call back ghosts from the past to revisit and activate latent childhood memories.
*With thanks to Dr Michelle de Haan and Dr Andrew Melbourne from UCL who assisted in providing the images.