Jon Higham - A Life in Objects

Silverhill Press Monograph

The objects people keep throughout their lives become a part of them and their narrative. Like a fingerprint, each person's collection is unique. These objects can tell us about their professional life, their hobbies, illustrate where they have been, a particular place in time, a certain event and the people with whom they shared their lives. They can be a way by which an entire life can be described.

In A Life in Objects, I chose to explore this subject through my father-in-law, John Strevett. John is a life-long clockmaker who started his apprenticeship at the age of fourteen in 1945. He is of a generation where things were more often made to last, even with a view to lasting a lifetime. The kettle he was given as a wedding present remained in use in his kitchen for over half a century.

John also kept much of his paperwork and some of those documents have a powerful resonance for him as the only item that connects him to a particular memory. In a life before the world went digital, his photos were cherished items that were kept in frames, albums, or boxes. Every saved item of John's clearly has a personal significance, the Jolliman tag from a suit, the hotel invoice from his wedding night, the RAF laundry label, tangible items that could be kept and filed.

64 pages of photographs and texts

Currently out of print