Lighthouse

Lighthouse

A temporary home tragically & un-expectantly suddenly becomes the final resting place for the artist's mother. The black & white film project explores the building as a backdrop to the terrible emotional events as they unfold over a tumultuous week. (Further details below)

Lighthouse

Lighthouse was only ever a temporary home for my parents, and was rented by them for a few months whilst they ‘did up’ their new house. Initially everyone laughed at the quite remarkable ugliness of the place – it was so unlike anything they had ever lived in before.

A late 1960’s nuclear bunker on a remote English coastline; however I confess we all fell in love with it – not least my mother and father who adored living there. It had a serene, almost spiritual calmness to it – almost too silent sometimes to be real, or of this century. And as the name would suggest, the rooms were bathed in light derived from multiple light-wells scattered across the roof.

I made these images of Lighthouse the week my mother was dying. When I rushed down to visit her at the weekend (she had been admitted to hospital at short notice) we didn’t know then that she would not see the week out. As the hours, and days unfolded, spent mainly at her bedside I occasionally withdrew back to her home and walked through the house taking photos. Initially not so much a photographic project, rather a photographic distraction from the pain and awfulness we were all facing as a family.

As I journeyed around their home, camera in hand, my parent’s dog Blucher (14 years old, white bearded, stone deaf and utterly gorgeous) loyally followed me about my business. His whole life had been dedicated to protecting his mummy, my mummy – and he couldn’t understand where she was now or why she had not returned.

A few weeks after my mother passed away, my father had to move into the new house. The lease on Lighthouse had come to an end, and thereby so too ended this final chapter of my parent’s happy life together; bringing to a close 52 years of marriage in a remote and rented temporary seaside house. Only a few months later, Blucher also sadly died and my father was left to soldier on alone forging a new existence.

 

All images & text Copyright Michael C Hughes