We were asked to look at the Country Doctor as well as The Dad Project and discuss the differences.
I think the differences are quite stark. For one, the Country Doctor is more what I would call documentary. It had a sense of the person behind the lens simply being an observer thus there was not an intimate feel. We felt as observers as if we were looking into the life of this doctor as he went about his life and work, yet we didn’t get a sense of the emotions he felt or the relationships he had. The images were very utilitarian. This was created mostly by shots that were usually at a certain distance from the subjects and was usually of him working on patients, with little no eye contact with the camera. The shots were mostly long or mid shots with the occasional closeup but these close up shots were more to show detail as opposed to emotion or intimacy.
Campbell’s work was highly personal and very emotional. As a viewer, we feel as if we got to know her and her father a little better. We also felt that we had a glimpse into their relationship as well as the grief she was feeling as she was losing her dad. It was an emotionally charged work. She achieved this by including shots of herself in relation to her dad. Also, a number of the images, the subject is looking at the camera, so the viewer feels as if they are in a way a part of the emotional relationship. She also had more abstract photos like just his had on the white sheet with a small glimpse of the catheter tube. These close ups showed quite intimate scenes, which again made the viewer feel more a part of the scene.
I think when she says it was ‘an ending without an ending’ because for one, her dad’s death wasn’t the ending for her, it was in a way a new beginning because she had to move on, as her dad would have wanted but also because in a way, he lived on in these photos. While she did photograph him after death, the images of him looking very much alive and also the way she captured their relationship now live on in these photos, so in a way, there is no ending to it.