Tag Archives: Trish Morrissey

Assignment 5: Research 3: Visual inspiration; Photography Artist Trish Morrissey and the constructed image


Figure 1: Trish Morrissey. (2016) Fig. 8097GAS (TM) An apparatus for testing the absorption ability of a nappy. 1969 / 2015. Mänttä, Finland taken from Ten People In A Suitcase. 

In order to develop a visual interpretation of my assignment 5 brief I have sought inspiration from an artist that I have taken more from each time that I have considered her work, Trish Morrissey.

I had seen Morrissey’s constructed self-portraiture work previously during this C & N course whilst researching the topic of Masquerades but at that point I had not quite appreciated the significance of the photograph as an image and a constructed reality. However six plus months on and my thinking and appreciation have developed to the point that this concept has been the core foundation of the learning and development gained throughout this year and so it is appropriate that I try to take some of this inspiration into my final assignment.


Figure 2: Trish Morrissey (2016). Fig. 01832KEL (TM) Tapani Kansa sang at Kirstinharju dance pavilion. Departure. 1970 / 2015. Mänttä, Taken from Ten People In A Suitcase.

Trish Morrissey’s latest work Ten People In A Suitcase (2016) is a series of self-portraits made as part of a residency undertaken by the artist where she was called upon to make a response to an archive of 30,000 historical photographs from the 1920s to the 1980s recording the life of a small industrial town of 6,000 people, Mantta in Finland. “These photographs are not re-enactments but rather new photographs that aim to inhabit and re-animate the lives of the original subjects”. (Baylis, G. 2016:31)

This concept of new photographs that can inhabit and re-animate lives which have since passed is central to my thinking for assignment 5 as I attempt to revisit the life of the British born Asian footballer Frank Soo. Morrissey herself says that, “In order to create these new photographs, I had to imagine the events that led up to this moment in the character’s lives, and in doing so, felt closer to the town itself.  The photographs transcend mere re-enactments, they are embodiments of real individuals who are more than just their snap shot.” (Morrissey, T. 2016)

What is most interesting is how the artist recreates a sense of history that seems to take place in the here and now which I think must be and will be very difficult to achieve but if successful creates a very powerful effect.

In her work Morrissey is successful in creating fresh stories and realities and avoids the reduction that so often follows the archiving process, which is described as, “a loss, an abstraction from the original complexity and richness of use, a loss of context.” (Sekula, A.1991)


Figure 3: Trish Morrissey, (2001-2004) July 22nd 1972, taken from Seven Years.

Another series of real interest and relevance is Morrissey’s Seven Years (2001-2004) and the title that refers specifically to the seven years age difference between the artist and her elder sister. In order to re-imagine these images from the 1970s and 1980s the artist uses suitable clothing, props and locations to instill the historical time period in question. Morrissey deconstructs and mimics the family photo album and by doing so allows us to re-appraise our history and the impact that this might have had on our lives.
What is really effective in the execution is how the artist seems to draw out the specific personal and psychological tensions that exist in all family relationships. The resultant images create a series of isolated yet exaggerated moments of facade and with them the un-covering or creation of new perspectives.

What I like about Trish Morrissey’s work within these two photographic series is that by exploring and considering how the historical archive and family photo album both work we are allowed and encouraged to revisit, reimagine and reinterpret our sense of social reality and the subsequent sense of history that follows and reflect upon how and why these concepts were constructed in a particular way in the first place. Again these concepts are central to my own aspirations for assignment 5.

By doing so we can reflect upon the impact on these key constructs in the development of our roles and identities and the subsequent direction of our lives. We can often find new evidence, new ideas and develop fresh perspectives enabling us to transcend the dimensions that organise our social existence.

Alison Green (2006) speaks of Trish Morrissey’s photography work as ”her way into the heart of such issues as family experiences and national identities, pastimes and fashion, Irish middle class values, feminine and masculine roles, and relationships between strangers. Her work does not so much define these subjects but uses photography to probe their boundaries, often left intact in every day life.” (Green, A. 2006)


Trish Morrissey artist’s own website can be accessed online at: http://www.trishmorrissey.com/index.html

Baylis, G. (2016) ‘Hidden People’ In: Source The Photographic Review issue 87 pp. 30-39.

Alison Green, (2006). Survey of International Contemporary Photography, London: Phaidon Press

Sekula, A. ESSAY: Reading An Archive Photography between labour and capital (1991) – Taken from The Photography Reader Wells, L (2002) London: Routledge

All Images by Trish Morrissey and accessed from the artists own website 19/12/2016) 

Figure 1: Fig. 8097GAS (TM) An apparatus for testing the absorption ability of a nappy. 1969 / 2015. Mänttä, Finland Taken from Ten People In A Suitcase (2016)


Figure 2: Fig. 01832KEL (TM) Tapani Kansa sang at Kirstinharju dance pavilion.

Departure. 1970 / 2015. Mänttä, Taken from Ten People In A Suitcase (2016)


Figure 3: July 22nd 1972 Taken from Seven Years (2001-2004)


Part 3 project 2 Masquerades Trish Morrissey

Hayley-Coles Trish Morrisey 17 6 06

Figure 1: Trish Morrissey, Hayley-Coles (2006)

Trish Morrissey masquerades as someone else as part of an exploration into the family photo album for her series Front (2005-2007). Morrissey approached families enjoying a day out on the beach asking to join their group and exchanging places with a woman from the group who was often the mother who in turn would take the photograph using the 5×4 camera that Morrissey has meticulously set up for the shoot.

The series is a collection of 12 images each named after the individual replaced by the artist in the composition. To ensure that the images are as authentic as possible it requires Morrissey to effectively assume 12 different personas although her true fascination lies in the exploration of the family unit.

This is a subject explored by Morrissey in another series called Seven (2001-2004) in which she collaborates with her sister (seven years her senior) in building scenes from their earlier family life in Ireland. Morrissey has recreated the original sense of time by using hairstyles, costumes, furniture and props from the decade in which the images are supposedly based.

Again by playing on the made up nature of the image we begin to question the original point in time and what might lie behind the happy normal scenes populating the majority of our family albums. Morrissey asks questions about, “how they are also used to propagate the hegemony and stability of the nuclear family unit.” (Brown, C. 2010).


Brown, C, (2010) Portfolio, Issue No 49 (online) AT:


(Accessed 5 July 2016)

Philips, S. (2013) ‘Trish Morrissey’s bet photograph: Infiltrating a family on a Kent beach.’ In The Guardian (online) AT:


(Accessed 5 July 2016)


Morrissey, T. Hayley-Coles (2006) taken from  www.trishmorrissey.com

(Accessed 5 July 2016)