Geoffrey Heath’s photographic series Circle of Love presents conceptual and meticulously fabricated scenes within the suburban domestic space inspired by his upbringing in the North Shore. The photographs are an unnervingly humorous take on the mundanely ordinary. The deep sense of alienation in this series is semi-autobiographical, recalling his experiences as a struggling born-again Christian and negotiation of his gay identity as a young adult.
Documentary photographs are often seen as objective and factual documents. Interested in this tension, Heath constructs a staged version of reality as a form of self-portraiture and a method of working through past trauma. By using suburbia as a backdrop, he examines expected societal norms and offers an alternative reading to the scene by using nostalgic moments of key and relatable social events such as birthdays, Christmas and New Year’s, which can trigger unease or discomfort.
The photographs can be seen as self-portraiture as they balance his anxiety and confidence. His artistic process includes using found objects and manifests his fashion habits in the 1980s while working in retail, such as his pink socks and pink leather ties. As a child growing up, he thought the world was like the North Shore and would get depressed at the thought of it - his recollections are tender, reminding us that many of us have tried to escape from our past. Heath has never considered his queer themes as politically driven but instead as reflections of his life experiences and interests.