The Waking Hours is a series of photographs that document the life of my father, Peter Ives. As a minister, my father spent 35 years devoted to a life of faith and moral leadership. Six months before his retirement however, he quietly fell into a deep sadness. The uncertainty of setting forth into a diminished role--no longer a leader of a large community and no longer safely within middle age-provoked a deep crisis within him.
Once proud and stoic, he became fragile and childlike, almost unrecognisable. I began to photograph him as a way to understand this transition and to try to construct a new relationship. Recording some events while staging others, the photographs became a way for me to explore the new man my father was becoming. Furthermore, the act of photographing him allowed me to intimately examine what happens to a man who has dedicated his life to forging an identity that then changes.
Martha Flemming-Ives’ work is inspired by the places and people that surround her.
“The desire to create an image stems from a curiosity to better understand who or what I'm looking at. The Waking Hours is a project that reflects my ongoing interest in creating imagery that examines my immediate family in this case my father”
This project was made between 2010 and 2013, Martha started working on it six months before her dad retired from his position as Minister of a congregational church in Northampton, MA.
“As his retirement approached, I saw my father quietly fall into a deep sadness regarding the uncertainties that lay ahead. I started photographing him as a way to understand what he was going through.”
These photographs are Martha’s attempts to reflect on key moments of transformation in the fabric of feeling and thought that support out lives.
“Ideally, I suppose in all my pictures I want to convey the deep admiration and love I have for my subjects. However, human relationships are complex- especially among family- I think we can feel love and pride, anger and frustration towards those we are closest, all at the same time. So it is my hope that the images reflect the breadth of those complex emotions we feel in our daily lives”
Martha Flemming-Ives lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, to see her a wider body of her work you can find it here
All images © Martha Flemming-Ives