Jo Spence



The Jo Spence Memorial Archive

The Final Project


The Final Project was conceived in 1991 when Jo Spence learned she had Leukaemia. It was her last piece of work. She died in 1992 before it was finished.

Like the earlier Breast Cancer work she started a series of portraits, rehearsing in a mirror, but soon realized that her gaunt appearance was at total variance with the mental image she still had of herself as a person active in struggle. This mind picture could not be captured with her normal photographic approach. Worse still, attempts to photograph herself therapeutically in a graveyard using her regular Camera Therapy methods ended in exhaustion and emotional upset prompting her to look for more indirect and allegorical methods to explore her situation. Remembering her earlier thesis research around Magical Realism she decided to abandon direct photography in favour of a fantasy approach that better expressed the sense of unreality she felt about the possibility of death and non-being. She noted the dialectical link between fantasy and realism and considered the possibilities of intermixing them to make a non-documentary Magical Realism work, which she called Photo Fantasy.” Terry Dennett

The Jo Spence Memorial Archive is managed by Terry Dennett.  Contact Terry Dennett


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