Schermafbeelding-2018-04-26-om-09.53.30.

I’m honoured to announce that my portrait, "My only Friend" has been chosen as one of 100 images included in the 100 #HoldStill2020 digital exhibition, presented by The Duchess of Cambridge and National Portrait Gallery.

 

You can see my portrait and view the full exhibition here: https://www.npg.org.uk/hold-still/hold-still-gallery

20200601-_RAH9427.jpg

1 OF 3: My Only Friend 

Myself and my husband lost our jobs just before lockdown as we work in the theatre industry. We're so frightened about the future of our trades and it's a little overwhelming to try and predict our own futures. This photo was taken on a day where I was feeling particularly down and lonely. I set my son Phoenix up on my bed with blankets, a movie and a snack and went to have a good auld cry in the bathroom. When I came back he was sat there engrossed, content, safe and completely oblivious to any struggle we could be experiencing. Perfect peace. I joined him shortly after this and attempted to soak up the serenity of that moment.  

The Golden one- Rah Petherbridge Photogr

2 OF 3: I miss my family in Ireland

This picture of me and my son was taken by my husband John in our room. I had recently painted the swans from Irish legend Aoife and The Children of Lir on our wall.

 

The reality of how long it might be till I see my family and friends in the Republic of Ireland again had hit and I was lonely. 

I decided to depict stories I took comfort in hearing as a youngster on the walls. The deposit of our rented home didn't matter anymore. I needed to feel home about me. 

I read the story to my son now, I hope Irish Folklore sparks the same feeling of real magic in him as it has me. There's something tribal about being Irish I paid no heed to in my younger years. It's like a ghost in your heartbeat that keeps you tied to its soil with a celestial glue. 

I battle every day with wanting to just hop on a plane and see my beautiful nephews and nieces, before they forget me. I go as far as putting in my card details for the payment. But it's not worth the risk in a global pandemic. So I stay in West Croydon.

20200601-_RAH9446.jpg

3 OF 3: A hard moment I survived

I'd left my son on the bed to watch a film while I went to the loo to cry. I had lost my career as a theatre artist and felt empty.

 

I dried my eyes and looked in the mirror. For the first time in my life at 36 years old I noticed age in my face. I was drained. My hair was lank and all grown out from it's usual punky fun style. My camera was so heavy. Nothing was like I was before.

It's not the most photogenic of moments but I wanted to remember that sometimes I get hopeless and that is just a feeling. It passes. Things can change and I won't recognize the person in this picture.