Doug Dubois -artist inspiration


Doug DuBois is an American photographer, he is best known for portraiture. ‘All the days and nights’ is a photo book he created documenting his family from the mid 80’s onwards. His photo books almost have a diaristic essence, which is something I want to create in my own work. In this series he closely shows examination of family relations under stress and what it means to subject personal relationships to the unblinking eye of the camera. These images are rich in colour and show subtle expressions and gestures. DuBois began photographing his family in 1984, prior to his mothers mental breakdown and his fathers near fatal fall. While these events provide a narrative backdrop to his work the emotional freight is carried by the details as described by the artist: “The pallor of my mother’s skin, the glare of my father’s gaze and the tactile communion between my sister and nephew. These details constitute a complex and resonant picture of family ties…”. This book consisted of 128 pages with 62 four coloured images. What I like about this work is the rawness of it, similar to Goldin’s work this project is something that DuBois would of been around everyday it’s all natural and not staged ; documenting and revealing to the public ,some aspects of, his and his family’s private lives. With my own idea as the context is something that I am myself experiencing, I want to look at photographing myself and my closest friends and housemates. Similar to DuBios and Goldin I am involved in these surroundings and see the subjects I’m looking at photographing everyday.


This is another photo book Dubios created that looks documents the uncertainty of coming-of-age in Ireland. Backdropped by an Irish housing estate he captures the awkward limbo of childhood and adulthood in a tight-knit community. He started this project in 2009 where he met a group of teenagers from the Russel Heights housing estate in Ireland. He then documented them for 5 years, weaving in and out of their lives as they grew, made mistakes, made friends, fell in love, and fell out with each other. Dubios said he became drawn to the ‘insular’ nature of the community. He then found out people within this group were either related, partners or ex partners. Personal matters were shared, discussed and defended in a place where everybody’s business is up for grabs. Dubios’ work is very private that is made public which makes his images seem very relatable when viewing.

Over the course of five years, DuBois returned to Russell Heights. People came and left, relationships formed and dissolved, and babies were born. Combining portraits, spontaneous encounters, and collaborative performances, the images in My Last Day at Seventeen exist in a balance between documentary and fiction. A  follow-up to DuBois’ first book, All the Days and Nights, this book provides an incisive examination of the uncertainties of growing up in Ireland today, while highlighting the unique relationship sustained between artist and subject.

Dubois found a particular fascination in the limbo that these teens existed; somewhere between adulthood and childhood – which they navigate honestly in his photos. This whole idea of documenting how teens act and develop and grow showing their inside perspective on life is again a big influence on how I want to portray my project. His book includes images of the teens ; fooling around with guns, drinking bottles of cider and beer and playing dress ups with wedding gowns , these are contrasted against family life and the everyday spirit of community which makes the concept behind his work more apparent.

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