Simon Weldon on his Long Term Collaborative Project with his Father
One of Huddersfield’s own technicians, Simon Weldon gave an in depth look on the development and ongoings of his long-term project, Loiner where through he explores the memory of his late father through the medium of photography of archival imagery
Unsure of what he would use the images for, Simon began documenting the meetups he would have with his father after he left the family home as a way of recording what was happening with his family. However, once his father passed away, the project began to shift towards understanding his father’s past and what led to his alcoholism. Simon’s father, Michael Weldon was an avid photographer too, leaving behind an archive of his work containing 126 35mm negatives, 800 individual prints and 21 boxes of colour positive slides. Simon believed they would fit into the project and spent over a month to fully digitise the works.
This vast archive of work showcased an evidence of a time before Michael began his family, which Simon aimed to use to explore his father’s past and uncover some level of truth about his alcoholism, as a way of coming to terms with his passing. There were many commons themes present within the archive such as photos in pubs, but Simon began focusing on the work Michael had taken around the River Aire in Leeds noting there was also a geographical link of where his ashes had been laid to rest. The project began to move towards following his father’s journey of the River Aire.
Still unsure of the direction the project was going in, Simon further analysed the archive noting the images that seemed to have some artistic intention present in them, displaying signs of his father’s ambition as a photographer. Posing a theory that his father may not have pursued a career as a photographer due to his working-class background, as some of the images bared resemblance in form, content, and theme to some of his contemporaries of the time, such as Peter Mitchell’s work. He began to replicate his father’s poses and body language that was present in his self-portraits as a way of understanding him through performance.
Loiner, was submitted as part of Simon’s post-graduate degree in 2020, but he still views the attempts to understand his father through photography as a lifetime project. Seeing it as an ongoing collaboration between father and son.