Friends in the Frame
Friends in the Frame is a multimedia project celebrating of some of my closest friends: through film, art and writing. Included on this page are the portraits and interview highlights, my talk at the exhibition launch, and some background on the project's themes. You can also buy the book of the project here.
Click on each friend for their portrait and interview highlights
Here are two compilations of all the interviews - one of 15 mins, and one of 90 mins.
Friends in the Frame Book
The book includes all the portraits in full colour with commentaries, along with an introduction about how the project came about and was made. It costs £25.74 + P&P and is available here on Blurb. Please note I don't make any profits from this.
An exhibition of 'Friends in the frame' took place at Goldsmiths College in 2018. Here's the film of the short talk I gave at the launch event.
About the project
I chose friendship as my subject matter as it’s been so important to me throughout my life – giving a sense of connection, belonging and continuity. I’m deeply grateful to my friends for being there over the years, both at times of difficulty – providing support, empathy and comfort – and sharing good times together. With a good friend I feel I can fully be myself – without pretence. That’s incredibly affirming, and is worth celebrating. And these portraits and films are just that, celebrations – unashamedly intended to show my friends in the best possible light, rather than being forensic or critical studies.
How I made the work
Having filmed interviews with my 15 subjects, I made their portraits on my beloved computer, a Microsoft Surface Pro, which has a touchscreen that responds to the pressure applied with the accompanying stylus. Using the right software, it closely mimics the experience of drawing or painting. I was inspired to use this ‘medium’ by David Hockney’s wonderful iPad work. The portraits include in the background objects, themes or symbols related to their filmed interview answers. Written commentaries/tributes accompany the portraits, with quotes from their interview woven in.
A life well lived: surveying all my friends’ answers, it seems that the ‘good life’ consists of three main aspects. First, people and connection – including friends, family, colleagues and beyond. Second, values – living according to a set of personal guiding principles seems to give people a sense of direction and purpose, an ideal to move towards. And third, self-development and expression – through the mind, the body and creativity.
Spirituality: To my surprise, several friends, who don’t self-identify as spiritual or religious, spoke about some kind of universal energy or wisdom, or how things seem to ‘happen for a reason’. I’m curious about how many people who subscribe to an entirely rationalist view of the world – if reflecting deeply – would ultimately attribute the cause and meaning of events to mysterious, transcendent principles that reason can’t account for?
Ordinarily extraordinary: In speaking about their heroes, several friends chose ‘ordinary’ people who face challenging circumstances in daily life with dignity and strength. Some also spoke about their own recovery from setbacks, particularly psychological challenges. There seems to be a unifying theme here about being an extraordinary human being through ordinary life, rather than through great outward feats or achievements.