Here's what she wrote about her inspiration for the project:
“Most convicts transported to Australia were convicted of petty theft, the majority of which were considered to be minor crimes by today’s standards. Stolen items varied from shoes to fabrics, coats to pocket watches, purses to sheep, and jugs to yarn. More than 160,000 people, an overwhelming number, were transported ‘beyond the seas’ between 1787 and 1868 to serve their sentences, which were usually seven or 14 years.
As a photographer, what interested me was the impact that the theft of objects—most of a relatively small value—could have on people’s lives. As a result, the photographs depict the descendants with a representation of the item that their ancestors had stolen; with the items providing a link between the ancestor and descendant.” Mine Konakci
My ancestor chosen was my 5x great-grandmother, Esther Spencer, who I have blogged about in an earlier post. According to the Old Bailey she was “indicted for stealing, on the 17th of July , two silver salt holders, value 18s. two silver salt spoons, value 2s. two silver pepper castors, value 1l [sic. Shilling maybe?]. a silver table spoon, value 14s. the goods of Jacob Ruffy.” Initially she was sentenced to death, but that was thankfully reduced to transportation for life instead. Lucky for me!!
The bottom photo includes my daughters, Kate, aged 7 (on the right) and Georgia, aged 4.
We don't have the items that Esther stole at the time - they would have been returned to their Mr Ruffy I presume - so we improvised with various other bits of silverware.
Thanks to Mine Konakci for permission to use the photos in this way.
PS Next time I have such an important photo taken I'll make sure my fringe is cut straight ;)