Michelle Sank came to Coventry University on Thursday to talk about her photographic works. She spoke of her relationship with light and how she is drawn to light from the coast, as it reminds her of the colour richness from her upbringing in South Africa. However, for me, I was drawn to the indoor portraits from ‘Into the Arms of Babes’. This collection explores the community of teenage pregnancy; often dismissed by society as improper, Sank wanted to display this issue with a more open and forgiving attitude.
Sank discussed how she values the relationship between people and their spaces. Having these portraits within their environment gives more for the viewer to understand. In this image Sank said that the vibrance of the aggressive red echoes the face of the father: the couple experienced some difficulties and the child had to go into care. I feel that this use of colour can say a lot more than meets the eye.
She felt that being open minded meant that she could get great results: she did not judge her subjects but trusted them to trust her. Therefore, her formal images as a whole highlight the natural devotion parents have for their children and their importance on the parents’ lives, just like any other family. I feel that having the context that the subjects are teenage parents is almost enough; we can draw our own opinions from what we can see in the images; however, this just raise the issue of bringing our own horizon to the image. Our preconceptions may well take over what Sank is almost celebrating.