'Off the Shelf' is my response to a character in Sarah Perry’s book The Essex Serpent.
Set in the Victorian era, Stella Ransome, the vicar’s wife has tuberculosis. As delirium sets in, she starts to collect blue objects until she is living in her own ‘blue bower’.
My work began by searching for a portrait of Stella. This led me to start a collection of carte de visite photographs. I realised that any or all of the portraits could be Stella.
Digitising and studying the portraits and with the photographs enlarged, I found corrections and even a thumb print left by a photographer. I decided to make my own interventions by collaging my photographs with the portraits. The resulting images seek to reflect the thoughts, hopes and dreams of the sitters and hopefully capture something of the fictional Stella ‘star of the sea’.