Looking for Alice is the ongoing photographic documentation of a mother, Siân Davey, a talented and award-winning English photographer, in search of her daughter Alice, who was born in 2011 with Down’s Syndrome. It's the search for a relationship, an understanding that goes beyond the ordinary, the predictable. A search for a mother who tries to relate to a daughter who is different from other children but who, in the end, underneath the difference in appearance, is very similar and has the same needs and emotions as everybody else. A mother who questions herself, her way of seeing, her expectations through the means that accompany her in life: the camera.
A story, which as Siân Davey says, is not just about her and her family, but about everyone. It talks about the need for a society that includes and embraces diversity. And the first place from which this embrace starts is the family. Siân gets in the game, just as the world should do towards human beings that don’t represent the majority. And what Siân discovers is that Alice has the same need to be loved, to smile, to cry that all other children have. In the pictures we see an Alice who looks around reflectively, an Alice who cries, an Alice who touches the face of her grandmother, who looks at a group of young girls taking pictures of themselves and who is a bit puzzled and intrigued. Like all little girls do, she looks at her friends or relatives who are in the process of becoming women - with a mixture of admiration and surprise.
What is her world outlook, her view of the world, her view of Others – her view of me, for example? After all, not only is she an Other from me, I am an Other for her too.
Siân faces this emotional trip with love, patience and dedication. The same love she puts into her images. She talks about difficult moments, the non-acceptance, the discomfort ... but Alice is always there. So are Siân and her camera. Their love, like all true loves, does not disappear, it does not crack. Siân, who before starting to photograph, worked as a psychotherapist, understands that she only has to dig a little more inside herself to get to Alice -sometimes. But the trip would be certainly worthwhile. Just like our trip looking at this beautiful and intimate diary of love and discovery.
Looking for Alice won the 2016 PDN Book Award and the Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal Award in 2017.