Lily Newman is the Head of Photography here at the Collective Magazine. She studied BA (Hons) Photography at Plymouth College of Art and graduated in August 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic. Born and raised in Devon, her work explores history, personal and political stories linked to her family history.
Anamnesis is a series of photos which started in my grandparent’s house and my family home which reside within 15 miles of each other. The project was initially inspired by memories of the visits I took with my grandparents to the National Trust properties as a child. It became an intimate study of their home and objects within. Memories with grandparents or any other guardians who looked after us when we were young are the best memories and this body of work set to honour them and the part they played in my life. However, due to Covid-19 the project had to change direction slightly, focusing now on my grandfather. When my grandfather was sixteen he moved from Calcutta in India (now known as Kolkata) to England to study engineering, he went back once and then has never returned. He has always been very private about his life in India and I had never seen any images of when he was younger until now. This project is about investigating into his childhood as my way of asking questions about his younger years.
The Coronavirus pandemic left Lily unable to see her grandparents for months. Her only recourse was to speak via phone or video. As a result, she found herself searching through archival family imagery, unearthing stories from a time never spoken about. Online correspondence with her grandfather’s youngest brother and sister-in-law increased her desire to find out about the family she never knew. Inspired by her grandfather who grew up in Calcutta, India in the 1940’s and emigrated to England when he was just 16 years old, she aims to investigate her family history using her emerging practise as a way of examining life in India in the 1940’s and 50’s.
India is a country full of diversity, from religions to languages to cultures. The society of this colossal subcontinent, varied and complex in its rich heritage, is among the oldest in the world. Five thousand years of history have nourished the growth of a great civilisation. In the 1940’s, around the time of her grandfather’s birth, many events made history in India – most notably The Indian Independence Act of 1947. It was then that India won its independence from British India, partitioning into two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan. As more information is discovered, in the form of oral history and visual documentation, Anamnesis has become Lily’s way to preserve previously unmentioned memories and to share tales never shared in the family until now.
You can find the rest of her project @lily.newmanphotography and https://newmanlily.wixsite.com/lilynewmanphoto