Symbolic Camera

Creating a "symbolic camera" was a means for me to conceptualise my film and represent its meaning in a physical format. The most important thing I considered when making my symbolic camera was that it was the result of a collaboration between me and my mum.


When I asked her what the camera should look like, what she thought should go on it, the first thing she said was “flower power”. I didn't understand why at first,  but we talked and she explained that she was enjoying watching the flowers bloom and looking forward to spending time outdoors in the spring and working in the garden. We also considered that flowers would be a great motif for the film, given the connotations of spring with new life after hard times. So, the next day I went to an arts and crafts shop and purchased some paper sunflowers which I wanted to incorporate into the design somehow to symbolise joy and new beginnings. 

I then went on to think about what the camera means for me and for my mum. Cameras provide us with the opportunity to revisit old memories and bring the past into the present. For this reason, photographs are considered an invaluable possession. I wanted the symbolic camera to represent my mum and her history, so I asked her to send me the photos that meant the most to her and told her story. The slideshow below is a collection of a few of the images that she sent to me. They include pictures of her family, her wedding day and me as a child.

I used a cardboard box of tea as the base for my camera, which felt appropriate for conveying a sense of home and comfort. I then printed off the pictures Mum sent me and glued them to the box. For the lens I used section of egg carton which I decorated with the paper sunflowers I bought.

After making the camera, I kept it on the mantelpiece in my bedroom. When Mum came to visit me at university, she saw the camera and smiled, saying she was glad that I could have these pictures near me everyday. 

From left to right: