For this essay I am going to be talking about the value of a body of work called ‘Somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond’ that was photographed by a young lady named, Jennie Gunhammar. I hope to bring other documentary photographers into the essay as they all have similarities to one another. I will be including some photographs such as; some of Nan Goldin’s and the famous photograph by Therese Frare of David Kirby on his death bed dying of aids. The photographs that Jennie Gunhammar produced for this series was showing the day to day life and struggle of; her twin sister Jessie and her partner Stan, who are both suffering from different diseases.
Jennie Gunhammar along with her twin sister Jessie was born in Sweden in 1975. They then later on in 1992 moved to London to educate themselves. Jennie and Jessie then at the age of 20 in 1995 started to do some modelling to support their education. Jennie not long after became the face of British Airwaves. Alongside of doing the modelling Jennie studied at London College of Communication. Meanwhile Jessie was taking different degrees in gender studies and social studies and also lectured at London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2002 Jennie was diagnosed with the disease Lupus, in 2004 her twin sister was then diagnosed with the same illness.
A year before Jennie published her first solo project in 2007 she had decided she would like to go down the artistic route that she had always wanted to. Her and her sister had been looking at different exhibitions to get inspiration for what she wanted to do. After looking at several different exhibitions she realised that the most compelling and emotional bodies of work was the ones that were personal stories. They had both jokingly agreed that a photography project about Jessie and her partner Stan would be ideal; showing their contemporary personal relationship, as there was such a large age gap between them both. A while after Jennie and Jessie sat down to have a talk about the different ideas for the project she had been thinking about. After a long discussion Jennie had agreed to Jessie taking photographs of her and Stan’s life, as long as he agreed.
The forty three photographs that make up this beautiful and meaningful body of work, are at first glance what you think of a love story between a young lady and her partner who is twice her age, but once you start to look at and unravel these images you realise that layers of meaning start to pour out from these intimate photos. It is a story of a modern day romance, not the kind of glamorous ones you see in the movies, but the powerful ones of real life. When this book was first published Jessie was the age of 33 and Stan the age of 66, were both suffering with life threatening diseases. Stan had Parkinson’s disease and Jessie Lupus disease. Their day to day lives were a great struggle for two main reasons. The fact they both had two different diseases and the difficulties that come...