Emerge Spotlight: Alannah Messett

Photo by Alannah Messett
Photo by Alannah Messett

NTU’s 20th annual photo festival Emerge kicks off next month, and Platform’s Photo Editor Callum Baigrie is following the build up to what is turning out to be one of the biggest and best shows yet. Read more about the festival here.

On the run up to the festival, Platform are speaking to some of the photographers exhibiting. We’ll be finding out who is inspiring them, what their projects are about, and what they plan to do after the festival closes. Alannah Messett is exploring her relationship with her grandparents, through the themes of memory, loss, and family love.AlannahMessett

What is your degree show project about?
My project focuses on my relationship with my grandparents. I wanted to portray their time together before my grandfather developed Alzheimer’s, and the memories I share with them of this time. I revisited and recorded their old homes and places we had been together. My grandparents had visited many places and had eight grandchildren – their life together was full of love. My grandmother has the best memory of anybody I know; yet my grandfather lost his. I want to highlight these themes of memory, loss and family love in my work. My aim is to preserve every memory I can, and to create a narrative of the family.

Which photographers/artists are inspiring this body of work?
There are two photographers in particular that have inspired my work. Heather Sten looks at her grandmother in ‘Con Chau’, who is suffering from Alzheimers. For obvious reasons, this project really struck a chord with me. Lydia Goldblatt’s project ‘Still Here’ is a record of her parents, in the years of her father’s illness. Both of these photographers preserve the memory of the family.

This quote by Larry Sultan on his project, Pictures from Home, also applies to my work; “To capture their existence in order to ward off their future non-existence.”

The preservation of memories is important to my work. As my one remaining grandparent, preserving the memories of my grandma is also important to me.

What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
At the moment, I am applying to digital marketing jobs and internships. I would love to work in a social media and photography role, preferably for a travel or fashion company. I’ll be carrying on with freelance photography, photographing for events, weddings and commissions.


Alannah will be exhibiting at Surface Gallery. Check out more of Alannah’s work on the Emerge website here.