For over a decade Léonie’s mother, Bron, had found it impossible to empty the boxes which had filled her new home since the collapse of her first marriage. The boxes were a constant reminder of Bron’s long-running battle with OCD. Then a deal was struck: Léonie would help her mother empty the house on the condition that she be allowed to document that process. In the Shadow of Things and the images it presents are the product of that delicate, troubled and loving understanding.
In the Shadow combines these images with re-discovered family photographs together with transcripts of family conversations, arguments and monologues. The result is an honest and intimate portrait of a family dealing with mental illness, a reflection on the power of the past, and a testament to the bond between a mother and a daughter.
‘A fascinating way of dealing with the material. I look forward to coming back to this often.’
‘Showcasing the immersive and the interactive, this beautiful app demonstrates the potential for digital publications to portray a deeply personal multimedia archive.’
‘VIKA are quick to explore the power of new technologies and ensure their use is meaningful.’
‘After the editorial tug of war over what would and would not be published in the book, only a fraction of the story ended up being told. Illustrations, films and letters were edited out and audio files became transcripts. In the Shadow is VIKA’s first interactive project. It started from the idea that a photobook isn’t necessarily linear.
“Linear sequencing is just a physical constraint of the book production process — a coincidence rather than a necessity,” says Forrest. “It’s the bridges between each image, the similarities and the differences that layer to create a narrative. We started the design process considering the narrative as a photobook without pages, a journey. The reader can choose where to enter the narrative, when to change path and when to exit. ‘Finally, those constraints gave way to stories that can be read in any direction and that loop so there’s no last page. By designing new mechanisms to carry the narrative, we allow the publication to become an immersive experience, rather than simply being the digital edition of a book.’
Tom Seymour, ‘How one woman’s struggle with OCD and hoarding became a ground-breaking app’, British Journal of Photography