Review by Douglas Stockdale •
In her self-published book, All The Days of Your Life, Erica Ann Flood transports us on a short and intimate journey through the various aspects of life. One that at times seems to pass by too quickly. Her narrative appears to utilize a time-based sequence in her documentary style photographs; we are introduced to an inquisitive and playful young girl in an almost fairy-tale setting, a very brief interlude of middle age with a closing sequence of graying maturity.
Flood has chosen to set her narrative around the many small garden communities common to the outskirts of most German cities, areas known as a Kleingarten. I know from my own experience walking these Kleingartens when we lived in Munich that the owners frequently create mini fairy-tale landscapes populated with figurines, plastic or porcelain animals, that surround the small intimate garden cottages. Most of these gardens are carefully groomed, while for a few others, a tender touch has been missing for sometimes years.
It is the interweaving of the photographs of the young girl, whose features are frequently ambiguous, that carries Flood’s narrative. This young girl is an every-girl who is representative of all of our daughters; inquisitive, playful, daring, dancing in the sunlight, with a bountiful hope for the future, but yet very much in the moment. Likewise, she is every-woman who was once at that age when life was care-free of responsibilities and the weight of life’s events. We know of what is yet to come, but take a moment to reflect on and enjoy the young girl’s momentary freedom. At the end of her narrative, middle age does quickly and very briefly appear and then a quick transition to the later years. Time does seem to be relentless, and at some point, we wonder where has all the time gone? How did we get this old?
Interspersed throughout the book are photographs of botanical gardens and details of ripe fruit and blooming flowers, again, all appearing to be set in a fairy-tale world. There is also a strong sense of entropy as many of the man-built structures appear to be in a state of disrepair with nature doing its best to reclaim the land. Likewise, the flowers and plants appear to be rebelling against man-made structures, appearing to be fighting to extend themselves beyond the various fencing and other barriers. These plants extend out and beyond their seeming limitations, similar to life itself, as we press on and against our perceived limitations.
In the reading of this book, I found that the emotional ups and downs still left me with a strong sense of hope for the future. There is a poignancy in the tender moments that Flood captures as we realize that the young girl in this narrative is Flood’s daughter and these poetic photographs will be treasured memories in the years to come.
All The Days of Your Life, Erica Ann Flood
Photographer, Erica Ann Flood, born and resides, Easthampton, MA
Self-published, Erica Ann Flood, MA copyright 2017
Essay: Erica Ann Flood
Stiff covers, with loose insert pages, perfect bound, four-color digital litho, Edition of 14, each with a pigment print (each in an edition of five)
Photobook Designer: Erica Ann Flood
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