This project epitomises a dedication to storytelling and represents in many ways how important loyalty and compassion from the photographer to those they are photographing is. Darcy Padilla spent eighteen years photographing the life of Julie Baird resulting in an insight into a life that is in many cases rare. The series allows for something rarely seen through photography, a passing of time. This evokes a greater connection through her work and so this project, as with others that we’ve posted over the last few days, in itself is greater than just photography, it’s greater than a series of images as it is really a documentation and reflection on a life.
The project, while consistent in style and aesthetic is emotionally changeable, dealing with issues from birth to death and from love to abuse. In life, we so often assume that the lives of others are so simple, or that we have it hard, but in truth when you see a life lived out before your eyes you understand how difficult some have it, and in turn, the project, to me, emphasises the importance of respecting everyone as a result of understanding how hard it might be for them. It’s only through work like this that you can so clearly see how similar we all are, and that might be the most powerful realisation in this world, for through this project you see how important human connection, family, freedom, love and hope are, and you notice that these are not only the characteristics that define you, but that define us all.
Padilla pulls no punches in her work and her commitment to telling Baird’s story. As with all of these projects, she cares about what she is photographing which is the reason for such inspiring and meaningful work, she is not an outsider but instead she knows her subject, and so the pictures she takes have the feeling that she isn’t there at all, the feeling that you are witnessing a life recorded, rather than just a moment of a time now past.