Personal Effects

These still life photographs belong to Clive Stone's Personal Effects series which was produced in the early 1990’s. Each image has been distressed in a similar manner — the film emulsion being scratched, dissolved with chemicals and torn prior to printing — which resulted in an old, worn appearance. Stone was influenced by the distressed visual quality of Joel Peter-Witkin’s photography. He found it liberating to not have to treat the negative as a "precious object" and was inspired by the idea that the creative process could be extended after the film was developed.

Both objects have nostalgic personal meaning for Stone: he collected Mad comics as a boy, and responded to the "craziness" of this cover image; the "The Bad Luck Charm" plastic lion (approximately 3cm in length) had been given to him by a friend while he was at primary school — he had kept it for over forty years.

Reading the Photographs - Guiding Questions

The childhood treasures presented here clearly hold personal value for the photographer. Why do you think he chose to distort the appearance of these images? How has the distressed visual quality influenced your reading of these works? Can you draw any comparisons with digital image manipulation such as that created by using Photoshop?

"The Bad Luck Charm" lion in the photograph was printed ten times larger than the actual plastic lion. Why do you think the photographer chose to present the photograph of the lion to be so much bigger than the object itself?

Neither of the objects in these photographs are presented in a context. They stand alone in an undetermined space. What does this add to the reading of the photograph? Why?

Learn more about distressing a photographic image