A photo story about exploring the intimacy of photography created in 2018. 

Oscar is my best friend, my carer and my husband. Oscar es mi amor. Oscar is a doting uncle, a loving brother, a kind son. Oscar is a meticulous student, a multimedia artist and a composer. Oscar is a Neurodiverse, mixed-race, British, cis, man. Oscar is a second-generation Jamaican immigrant. Oscar is anxious, thoughtful and just. He is all of these things but none of these descriptions captures him in the way a photograph can.

 

This series explores the intimacy of photography and the relationship between the photographer and the subject. This series uses film photography, photo collage and digital layering to depict the many identities that make up one individual, whilst contrasting the private, interior person with the public, exterior persona. As I am chronically ill and disabled, Oscar has also now become my carer. This uniquely close relationship allows me the time and freedom to create images not only of Oscar but about him.

Charlie Fitz.

Off centre is the upper body of a young mixed race man who smiles at the camera. He wears a black hat and puffer coat and has bleached dyed blonde hair. Behind him are grey fence panels.

Meet Oscar

Oscar is not easy to photograph, he finds it hard to relax, he retreats into an uncanny stance and expression. It takes work to draw him back out. When other photographers shoot him, however beautiful the result, the subject often looks unfamiliar. This image captures Oscar at the time this was written, he will change and become different versions of himself, but this version is now distilled in this image.

A layered photo of Oscar, a young mixed

Bodies

We reject the dualism of western metaphysics. Our bodies are ourselves and we cherish their vulnerability and strength.

Oscar, a young mixed raced man with short blonde curly hair, is standing in front of a white garage door. His torso and head are in shot, he wears a purple, green and yellow kaftan and a black docker peakless cap. He faces to the left of the shot, his eyes closed bath in sun across his face. The red brick frame of the garage is behind him and there is a large light leak across the left of the image.

Light Leak / Mi Amor

Film cameras leave unique markings, there are markings of each camera on the images they produce, there are flickers of their origin but the images exist beyond and without the camera. Like a film photograph we all carry markers of our beginnings but they are just a small part of our whole.

Two images are layered through one another. One image is a birds eye view of a large blue floored area. The centre top left of the image is a woman in a white dress, black coat and white hat with her arms on her sides, elbows jutting out. Far to the left is a girl toddler in a light coloured dress with blonde hair looking in the other direction. To the right, slightly below the woman is another young girl, also blond, in pink clothing, also looking to the left of the image. Centre bottom left are a group of three adults walking close together, one of them pointing, all looking in the same direction. The second image layered on top is of Oscar, He is larger than the others, taking up a third of the image, in the centre in between the other figures. He has his back to us but is turning his face so the side of his head is in view. He is in heavily contrasted light and shadow, only parts of him can be seen, his neck, eye, cheek, part of his black and white striped shirt and arm.

Teaching me to listen

Oscar makes decision with other people in mind. He cares about justice, about how his actions and decision affect other people. He challenges his own assumptions or possible prejudices. I'm learning to do the same.

An off centre frame right stands a young mixed race man his lower legs cropped out of frame. His head is turned leftwards and his right arm holds his left, whilst his left hand is raised to the top of his blue jacket. He wears a small red beanie hat and blue jeans. In the background there is a stone building, grass, trees and a figure sat on a bench.

5.36pm each day

Oscar’s watch has an alarm that goes off at 5.36pm each day. It was set by mistake and it could be turned off. This alarm has been going off at the same for 3 years. It has become a constant in our life. A life of change and uncertainty due to illness and precarious employment. People get confused by this alarm. Neither Oscar or I turn it off, we let it ring out. It is a moment when we reflect on the day so far and the evening ahead. It is a recognition of the passing of time.

The image is a digital collage of 6 of the same black and white image of Oscar, a mixed race man in his twenties with short dyed blonde hair. He is wearing a dark turtle neck and squares of white paper over his eyes. The identical images overlap and are placed three alongside each other and three more in a row behind. The background is white.

Persona

When you spend so much time with another person you can develop your own language, your own humour, a shared world view that becomes a kind of common sense between you. When confronted by starkly different ideas of justice or fairness, this worldview can shatter. Our identities don’t fit a mould, they are fractured and imperfect, they evolve and we become a part of each other.

A young mixed race man sits in the centre frame. He wears a blue t-shirt and white shorts. Behind him is a circular mirror in a dark brown frame and a tall white lamp.

We let the light in but little else

I became seriously ill 4 years ago. Since then we have left our little apartment and have lived between two rooms in our respective family homes. We are hermits to some but never alone to others. A whole world exists in any room we inhabit together.

Centre frame a young mixed race man with bleached dyed blond hair wears a white jumper with a floral pattern on it, only his upper body in frame. His eyes are closed, he is lying down, seen from above and his head is surrounded by colourful flowers and paper decorations. A light leak runs vertically on the right side of the frame.

I found him among the flowers

Toxic masculinity has no home in our house.

An underexposed image of Oscar, a mixed race man in his twenties, wearing dark blue casual clothing and a dark green beanie hat. He is outside on a residential road, in front of a fence and leafless winter trees. He is sitting on a child's tricycle without shoes on, looking away from the photographer to the right of the image.

Ogga

Uncle Oscar or Ogga as he was known for the first couple of years of our nephew's life. Uncle Ogga will answer all your questions with a thoughtful response, he will read you stories and put you to bed. He challenges your formative ideas about gender and the world. He will ask you about your dreams and try to understand the way you think. He won't give into tantrums but he never shouts. He plays for hours in your make believe worlds. Uncle Ogga makes you feel safe.

Two images are layered through one another, as if a double exposure both of Oscar a slender, mixed race man in his 20’s with shaved hair. The image to the front is he is centre frame and sits half turned towards the camera, his face is half illuminated by the warm light of a sunset. He wears a dark blue t-shirt. Behind him is a bookcase brimming with books and magazines. The image behind and to the right is fainter than the first, he sits with his left knee bent and his head resting on top. His left arm clasps his knee. He stares into the camera. He wears a yellow vest.

In Kafka’s words

In his blue notebooks, Kafka states that ‘everyone carries a room about inside him’, Oscar’s room would exist in an eternal twilight and be filled with books wall to ceiling. Philosophy, fiction, poetry, aesthetics, film, books on cats, books on birds, humongous art books the weight of a child, books on the history of Argentinian football. Books he will go on to write, books he may never finish, but nonetheless love.