Jenny Smith Photography | A Pocket History

A Pocket History

December 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

A year ago I started photographing the contents of my then 7 year old son's pockets.  At the time I didn't think I'd still be photographing them a year later, but I became a little bit obsessed, and looked forward to seeing what gems I'd uncover when I turned out his pockets that evening.

Most of the time it was bits of litter that he'd picked up in the school playground, sometimes it was remnants of fabric from a school art class, and one time it was a couple of leaflets found in the cinema foyer with sketches of naked ladies on the cover.  Other times I turned out what seemed like an entire beach worth of pebbles and wondered how on earth he'd managed to cram them all in.

But it's probably the very first image, the one that started this whole project off that's my favourite.  A one stop shop into the mind of a 7 year old boy.  A few twigs, an empty packet of raisins, a piece of bark, a football card, a safety pin and the end of an old screw.

It's funny.  You wouldn't think that by looking at, what is essentially a load of litter, could provoke such lovely memories.  But they do. 

The BBC visitor pass reminds me of the day his dad took us on a tour of Radio 1 and of the pizza we had afterwards.  The old tag with the royal crest on was the day my mum and I took him on a brilliant tour of Buckingham Palace, the tags he saved were from a toy Corgie that his grandma bought for him which has had pride of place on his bed ever since.  The collection of autumn leaves were from a walk in the park, and of course those naked lady leaflets from a cinema party in East Finchley. 

Then there's the selection of Christmas present tags, one of which is from his grandad.  Little did we know back then that it would be our last Christmas together.  The punctured balloon reminds me of the hours spent playing tennis with it across the sofa in the living room and the selection of Match Attax cards takes me back to his oh-so-brief love affair with football. 

The packet of Smarties is a sad reminder of his grandad again who passed away a few weeks ago and who always had a stash of Smarties in his kitchen cupboard for him.  The Minion keyring was won for him by his cousin Sam during another fun holiday with the whole family at Centre Parcs.  The pink ticket is from a brilliant holiday to Lanzarote as are the red stones which he picked up during our tour of the volcano.  There's a small yellowy/brown stone towards the end which Lucas told me is a dragon's eye.  I love that stone.

So here it is, a year in the life of a 7 going on 8 year old's pockets, and a whole world of memories to go with it. 




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