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In the shadow of things
For over a decade, Bron, the mother of award-winning photographer Léonie Hampton (formally Léonie Purchas) found it impossible to empty the packing boxes which had filled her new home since the collapse of her first marriage. The boxes, along with stuffed plastic bags and accumulated artefacts from her former life, were a constant physical reminder to her family of Bron’s long-running battle with OCD and depression.
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150 b/w and colour photographs
In 2007, a deal was struck: Léonie would help Bron empty the house on the condition that she be allowed to document that process.
In the Shadow of Things is the product of the months that Léonie spent with her mother as together they tried to tackle the irrational rituals and behaviours that were dominating her life. Opening the boxes and clearing out the rooms led to moments of anguish and anger, but also of humour, tenderness and joy.
The book combines original photographs with found family images and transcripts of conversations, arguments and monologues. The result is an honest and intimate portrait of a family dealing with mental illness, a reflection on the power of the past, and a testament to the bond between a mother and a daughter.