The Walls Around Me

Gillian Macdonald

A person sits on a shelf of a wooden workbench, awkwardly hiding their face from view. There are a various tools hanging on the wall about the bench, as well as spread out on the surface of the bench. There is a saw leaning against the shelf on the floor. A metallic vent runs through the top of the frame.

The Walls Around Me reflects the changes that have occurred since returning to my childhood home through exploring – or re-experiencing – a space.

Departing from the comfort of childhood in search of independence and growth is natural, leaving behind the physical and taking everything you have learned with you. What happens when you are placed back at the beginning, but only in the physical sense? Returning to my childhood home, everything that was once familiar is now lost in the walls around me.

It is impossible for a room alone to carry a memory, but once my mind enters the space I am instantly transported. My stream of consciousness is balanced between the distant memories – triggered by smell, touch, colour – met with the discomfort of the reality of present-day and the growing pains that have followed me. I cannot relive what I have already experienced, I can only reflect on how my experiences have shaped me through the notion of returning to a space that I have ultimately outgrown.

An empty white floral armchair placed against a green wall. There is a photo on hanging on the wall above the chair. Two small wooden side tables sit next to the chair with a lamp on one of the side tables. A set of legs wearing blue jeans and white socks are sticking out from under the armchair on the floor in a relaxed manner.
A person sits behind a tall stack of books with their legs sticking out from either side. The books completely hide the face of the person in the photo.
A person lies on top of a hockey net in a garage space. There is a storage shelf with various items on it behind the net. There are some pucks and leaves spread out on the ground.
A person lies on a countertop behind an arrangement of plants. They are pouring water from a watering can onto their face. A shadow is cast upon the window curtains behind.
A railing with towels draped over it runs across the image. A person is dangling from the railing in a similar fashion as the towels. A shadow of the person is cast upon the wall beneath them.
A person lies on the ground with a small ironing board on top of them. They are ironing a wrinkled white shirt and there is steam coming from the iron.
A person sits on a wooden chest against a beige wall. The wall is covered with framed photos of different shapes, sizes and colours. The person sitting on the wooden chest is sitting slouched against the wall with their legs hanging over the edge. They are holding an image of a young child in front of their face.
The corner of a room with two windows. A person standing on tiptoes stands behind the blinds in a window, half hidden from view. There is a slit in the blinds where a set of eyes peak through, with two hands hanging through the slit. The walls surrounding the window and subject are a warm yellow.
Gillian Macdonald

Gillian Macdonald

Gillian Macdonald is a Toronto-based photographer. Her main focus is on documentary and conceptual photography exploring the vast human experience through both digital and film-based mediums.