Box Stories

Boxes! Jewelry boxes, trinket boxes, cutlery boxes. New and old, these guys make pretty regular appearances in my photoshoots. See...

As someone who prefers things to have a purpose, I like boxes. Boxes are both pretty and useful. They are so handy..They add height, colour, texture and a bit of authority with their solid shape. I use them to raise other objects up. I like that they add a bit of mystery to a still life. What's in the box??

In the case of this silver box that lives in my kitchen...'s some headphones and a smooth, cold stone that my daughter sweetly gifted to me on a beach walk.

Maybe you've seen this box before? It's a Princess Mary Christmas Gift Box from the first world war. Every serviceman and woman on the front was sent one of these brass boxes filled with gifts: tobacco, chocolate, lemon drops. This one has come from my husband's family. A treasured gift from the hideous war, kept and passed on through the family. A useful trinket box. It has worn so beautifully. Think of all the things it must have held. Now this box sits on our hall table. We keep used stamps in it which we save to for charity (I know! It's still

a thing!)

And this black, lacquered cigar box belonged to my family. It is Japanese inspired with fans and intricate small scenes. I don't know much about it and there is only one of the tiny acorn-shaped drawer handles left. My husband now hides a whole load of important guff in it. I remember it used to sit up in my parents' attic, empty but for one black and gold cigarette in one of the drawers. Such a glamorous fag. I used to sit in the dark attic (I love my parents' attic) and imagine an exotic relative smoking the rest and forgetting this last one. What did they wear? And it is still there. That's one ancient cigarette. It has no scent. I can't ever get rid of it. It's part of the box.

I use other boxes all over my home. Especially for my daughters' stuff. They love a box too. Going through my jewelry box, trying things on, chatting about where they came from. These small histories are important, I wonder what I'll leave behind in mine. Not a cigarette, obvs. But maybe some trace of me: a forgotten lipstick, concert ticket, receipt.

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