Ruth Maddison’s photography offers intimate and personal glimpses into the daily lives of her subjects. People, their relationships and their communities are continuing preoccupations for Maddison. Her large body of photographs document the daily lives of her subjects within their homes and communities, and also speak to Maddison’s own interests and personal history. Maddison’s photograms invest the photographic document with another form of intimacy. The people and objects that feature in Maddison’s photograms actually touch the sensitive photographic surface before they leave us with their shadowy trace.
“I came to photography untrained in any area of image making and ignorant of all art theory. I picked up a camera when I was 30 and discovered a way to pursue a passion – an unerring interest in an individual's life. It came from my maternal grandparents – part of the family household I grew up in – who were Jews who had lives in other places before coming to Australia, and it came from my father – a left wing political activist involved in workers rights, struggles of national independence and anti-war campaigns.
Using the camera changed my life. For years I only ever wanted to photograph people and everything we do. Now I think that everything I do and see and know somehow becomes included in what I want to translate into images. I'm recording the passage of my life via image making and the problem solving processes it presents to me. I'm recording what it is that makes me want to go on and on with the camera and the image.” (Ruth Maddison, 2006)