Umbilical – Michael Grieve

Published alongside our exhibition Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood & Identity, this portfolio shows photographer Michael Grieve starting to come to terms with the loss of his own mother. It reflects a space where his experience of motherhood has ended and in its place something else must exist.

As part of a process of mourning, Grieve has been photographing. This incomplete body of work – shot in a number of locations in Europe and accompanied by fragments of writing – describe a variety of spaces, objects and situations that seem to be presented at various distances from his suffering: occasions when he is close blend into others when he seems apart; disregarding a space to show us an object, or displacing something recognisable for a shadow or an abstraction. The texts, sometimes aphoristic, sometimes searching, support and open up the images to reflection.


Strength and purpose are privileges to build upon.


And in my heightened awareness I began to take photographs with no diligence and no real conscious purpose other than to feel my way, without direction.


Intuitive practice builds associations. These combine to tell a fiction built upon an infinite source of images.


I cannot arrive at a conclusion; the photographs I take cannot describe, but through my unconscious attention they might reveal a sense of the consequence of my ongoing battle to embrace the paradox of life.


The loss of my mother delivered to me a certainty that cannot be denied.






The cord has been cut and I am at once free with a startling force.

Michael Grieve is a British photographer currently based in Warsaw. He has photographed for publications including the British Journal of Photography, The Guardian, Le Monde and the Sunday Times Magazine. Grieve is the Deputy Editor of 1000 Words Photography Magazine and is represented by VU, Paris.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s