The 'Letters Home' project (2015-16) considers the generational difference in modes of communication, reflecting on the role of analogue photography and traditional letter writing through a re-staging of the self as a student in the early 1990’s. It seeks to question the way in which we document our digital lives today, reflecting upon the loss of the tangible – the inscribed personality of the handwritten and the uniqueness of a precious familial object.
‘Keep Smiling’ (2015) is a looping slide show sequence of twenty-eight photographic diptychs that feature extracts from letters received from Waterman’s grandparents and past boyfriends during her time away at university in south-west England. The fragmented words of support, love, regret and loss are juxtaposed with close-up views of the few snapshots taken at the time, re-photographed to emphasize the physicality of the print surface. A certain intimacy with these precious artifacts is created by focusing on certain words, or tightly cropping into the image, without revealing too much to the audience. Whilst the work is deeply personal, a reassuring tale is evoked through recognizable phrases and familiar poses.
'So Cheerio For Now' (2016) dwells on the letters she received from her grandparent’s whilst she was away from home. Their written words of endearment are contrasted with her own pensive reflections in the accompanying voiceover that traces an emotional journey. This autobiographical narrative employs edited extracts from the diaries and letters of the poet, Sylvia Plath, whilst she was at Smith College in the early 1950’s, which mirrors Waterman’s own experiences. Footage of the catamaran journey leaving the Isle of Wight, where Waterman grew up, captured through the changing seasons, is intercut with representational shots of ‘home’ to embody her recalled insecurities and ambitions.