Walking into Paula Reason’s house in Cookham is like entering a picture of calm and order. This is in direct contrast to her plea “please do not tidy up” to a client who wants to have a favourite place captured in thread. Paula is fascinated by the paraphernalia of everyday life; the objects that we use and casually leave lying around. She believes that our surroundings reflect us as much as we influence and create them, ‘they can speak for us, when sometimes we cannot’.
‘A Love Letter to my Father’ was motivated by her father’s illness, “I wanted to both hold onto him and comfort him in any way that I could”. While he was unwell, his room said more about his personality than he could convey himself. It was a haven for him; one that he palpably yearned for while he was in hospital.
As a result, Paula wanted to capture this place. When he was in hospital, she wanted to bring it to him to cosset and sooth him, “to literally wrap him up in it, like a security blanket”.
Paula set about photographing and drawing her father’s room and all the things within it. With over twenty years as a practising architect, she drew upon the technical drawing conventions used to portray her architectural designs: scaled plans and elevations. Every aspect of the room was meticulously hand drawn at a scale of 1:5 on tracing paper. ‘A Love Letter to my Father’ is a very personal and specific story. However, the story and message that it conveys have much wider ramifications. The places that we choose to live in and the objects that we select to surround us both say something about us as well as impact on the way that we live.