Falling to Pieces

The world is falling to pieces and all I photograph is rocks and trees

The world fell to pieces in 2020.  The Covid pandemic wrought global chaos and destruction, but my family and I also suffered our own private, parallel tragedies.  As the virus spread through northern Italy, my fit, strong brother-in-law, John, became very weak and disorientated.  Within a week, he was diagnosed with end stage Glioblastoma.

Just before the first lockdown, I was able to travel from my home in Switzerland to the UK to help my sister while she cared for John.  During the in between moments, I wandered around the countryside close to their home and photographed the bare winter trees.  When I left to return home, I was all too aware that I may never see John again.  I couldn’t have foreseen that I would be unable, because of Covid travel and quarantine restrictions, to get back to the UK for a year.  John died eight months after his diagnosis, in his sleep and in my sister’s arms.

A few days after John passed away, my father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. While Zoom calls and WhatsApp messages helped me to understand what was happening, I felt useless about not being able to get to the UK to help.  My usually sharp as a tack father asked my sister repeatedly when I would be able to come and see him.  When my sister told me this, my heart broke some more. My father died the week before Christmas, surrounded by my mother and my three sisters, but just before I was able to make it back to the UK.  

While I was trapped back home in Switzerland, life went on at a slow pace.  Reality became distorted.  I was in a daze and my surroundings appeared as abstractions.  Desperate to escape my claustrophobic city apartment, I wandered around the nearby woods and lake shore.  I photographed more trees and, when I couldn’t be outdoors, I photographed moments at home … moments so quiet and unremarkable they belied the devastation occurring within our family and around the world.

This work is dedicated to my father, Ian V King (1934-2020) and to my brother-in-law, John Rainger (1957-2020). The title is inspired by this Henri Cartier-Bresson quote:  The world is falling to pieces and all Adams and Weston photograph is rocks and trees.

Edition of four hardback and seven Japanese stab bound books.