Untold Heritage is your chance to explore your heritage through photography, to tell the stories that get left out of the history books, and to help us discover alternative narratives of our history.
Theme two is about documenting the people in your household, creating a
snapshot of the people you live with and care about, those in your life that are
important to you.
What do we mean by household? Everyone’s household is unique. Some of us
live with family, others with friends, housemates or carers. Our families may
not be the ones we are born into. Households can be created through
circumstance, or made up of people we have chosen to live with.
Use the resources below to find out how you can use photography to create a
portrait of your household and explore your Untold Heritage.
PHOTO CHALLENGE ONE: Document Your Household
© Saturday Club Portraits of Households in Lockdown. Young people with Lindsey Smith, Photoworks and the University of Brighton
Capture your household candidly with a documentary-style approach. Why not
set yourself the challenge of documenting ‘A day in the life’ of your household.
Set some rules to help you stay focused. You could take a photograph every
hour, only photograph from doorways, or perhaps photograph every mealtime.
PHOTO CHALLENGE TWO: Re-Portray A Loved One
Combine objects with photographs to create a new portrait. Find or take a
photograph of a member of your household. Collect and arrange small items
that relate to them such as pasta, jigsaw pieces or Lego. Select a backdrop –
something personal like a scarf or blanket. Re-photograph it.
PHOTO CHALLENGE THREE: Re-locate Your Loved One
Play with environment or sense of place to create a brand new portrait of a
loved one. Choose a photograph you really like. Find a location that says
something about the person in the photograph, situate the photograph in that
location then re-photograph it.
PHOTO CHALLENGE FOUR: Household Portraits
Make a household portrait without including your subject in it. Instead
carefully select and arrange items to represent them. Find their favourite spot
to stage your surreal photograph, or choose a backdrop that represents them.
Experiment by adding text such as a favourite phrase, description or memory.
PHOTO CHALLENGE FIVE: Homage Portrait
Celebrate someone in your household with an homage (tribute) by arranging
items you connect with them around their portrait. Add text about why they are
special, and re-photograph it.
PHOTO CHALLENGE SIX: Photo Text Portrait
Create a photo-text image using a Smartphone. Take or choose a photograph
of someone in your household. Write down as many sentences as you can
about that person. Select your favourite one and add it to the photo. There are
lots of Apps you can use to add text.
PHOTO CHALLENGE SEVEN: Photo Tree
Create a photo-montage portrait of your household. Look through old
photographs, or take new ones. Line up and connect different parts of each
photograph to create a new image that you then photograph. You could also
do this digitally. There are lots of Apps you can use.
- It’s okay if you don’t have any photographs of your household, you can do
these challenges digitally.
- Follow our photo challenges to create individual or group portraits. You could
make a new portrait of your household. Choose backdrop and props then set it
up. Direct where and how you want people to pose and interact.
- Try experimenting with drawing, writing, sewing or painting onto your
- Be inspired by English Heritage! Have fun recreating a famous artwork from an
English Heritage site with your household. Set it up, dress up and take a group
- Take care selecting props or texts. What has meaning? Did your housemate
take part in Greta Thunberg’s School Strike for Climate Change? Does your
sister always go to Pride? Does your household attend BLM marches? Adding
visual clues will make your portrait really personal.
- Make good use of mirrors, shadow and lighting for dramatic effect.
- Portraits don’t have to focus on faces. Gesturing hands, shadows of hands, or
including arms or legs can instead represent your subject.
- Yumna Al-Arashi
- Peter Brathwaite
- Rie Yamada
- LaToya Ruby Frazier
- Carrie Mae Weems
- Jess Dugan
- Julie Blackmon
- Jan von Holleben
- Celine Marchbank
- Dora Maar
- Rene Magritte
- André Kertész
- Abelardo Morell
- Laura Alston
- Shawn Theodore
- Trish Morrissey
Works of Art
Kenwood House, Hampstead
Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait with Two Circles in the Iveagh Bequest at
Kenwood. Rembrandt is one of the most celebrated artists in history. This self-
portrait, one of his last, depicts him as a painter, plainly dressed in working clothes
holding the tools of his trade. The two symbolic circles are most likely clues to his
profession, although nobody is exactly sure.
Chiswick House, London
The people in our household and our everyday relationships are familiar to us but in
the future might be interpreted very differently. In the 18th century, LGBTQ+
relationships were not conducted openly, but among fashionable women, same-sex
‘romantic friendship’ was accepted. One famous case of such friendship was linked
with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire at Chiswick House.
Kenwood House, Hampstead
Dido Elizabeth Belle grew up in Georgian Britain raised by her legal guardian and
great-uncle, William Murray, 1 st Earl of Mansfield at Kenwood House. It was
extremely unusual for a mixed-heritage woman to be raised as part of an aristocratic
family as a lady at this time.
Blue Plaque site of the Pankhurst family in Nottinghill
Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel led the militant campaign for
women’s right to vote in the early 20th century. Emmeline had five children herself,
but during the First World War also cared for and raised four ‘war babies’, children
born out of wedlock, later opening a nursery and home for female orphans.
Hadrian’s Wall – Wallsend & South Shields
Many barracks have been found in Roman cavalry forts, such as Chesters on
Hadrian’s Wall. The barracks would have been the place where the soldiers slept
and lived together. A tight-knit community. Recent excavations have also proved that
Roman cavalrymen shared their living spaces with their horses. Being in such close
proximity meant soldiers had close bonds with their horses and that the horses
would have been available for instant deployment – a military advantage.