An unorthodox love story spread over 100 pages, Michael E. Northrup‘s Dream Away charts the photographers obsession with ‘the photograph’; the photo-book ambling through a mix of colour and black and white images that document the 12 years his ex-wife spent as his muse.
“We met in 1976, got married in 1978 and divorced in 1988,” says Northrup. “She was both wife and muse. For me, creating images is all about my daily life, those meaningful pictures I’m able to extract from it, and the personal vision I bring to those visual narratives.” Funny, exceedingly intimate, and deeply personal, Dream Away‘s 66 images provide an compelling insight into both the artist and his subject.
“I love irony … not exclusively, but I have a particular appreciation for it. And it underlies a lot of my work. I must have been influenced by my mother who would laugh at news stories like, ‘Santa Loses Fingers While Stepping Off Helicopter To Wave At Kids’. During the ’50s my older brother told me all the science fiction and horror movies we were seeing were documentaries. And my dad, being a doctor, surgeon, and coroner, would bring humour to the dinner table on things like bowel obstructions and suicides. My whole family was great at extracting humour out of tragedy and that has given me a way of seeing. For me creating images is all about my daily life, those meaningful pictures I’m able to extract from it, and the personal vision I bring to those visual narratives.”
Northrup admits his wife grew tired of being the subject of so many photographs after a decade (with the insistence on documenting every minute of daily life demonstrated here, it’s easy to see why) but their time together yielded some 400 pictures of Pam, and an insight into the matter-of-fact humour that fuels the photographer. From breast-pumping to sitting on the toilet in her wedding dress, Michael’s muse is as much his offbeat personality as it is his ex-wife.
Dream Away by Michael E. Northrup, is available now in pretty pink hardback from London-based art publisher, Stanley Barker.