On Divorce

On Divorce was published in the UK on the 7th of September 2023.

Our culture is obsessed with finding romantic love and yet about half of marriages end prematurely, often with people feeling shame and stigma.

This work was made over a two year period and consists of portraits (of around 50 people) accompanied by thoughts and observations in the first person. The testimonies were transcribed from interviews made on the day of each shoot. The stories are a mirror that can help to correct some of what we think we know of divorce and pull us in a different direction: towards compassion, identification, curiosity, self-reflection and empathy. 

The book features an introduction by The School of Life and I have included my own experience of divorce. Scroll down to read.

I always knew, from years of working with him, that Harry Borden was a great photographer but now it turns out he’s a great interviewer too. Maddening! Lynn Barber

Harry Borden takes beautiful, clear, humane and, above all, informative photos. You know these people at once. In this book you also know their divorce traumas and triumphs. It is an essay in how to know each other better, how to be human. Bryan Appleyard CBE

Books can be ordered from here.

“Is there somebody else”
I said it without ever thinking there might be.
2 actors in a play, it seemed the logical next line. Scripted by our own parents’ dysfunction, it was inevitable that we would part. 
We’d been an efficient team, 3 healthy children, a big house but if our emotional life was a garden, it was now tangled with weeds. A neglected space, we had lost the ability to talk.
At first, I was numb but as the months passed, I began to see the complacent facade I had constructed. 
Over time I started to re-establish friendships, change my priorities around work and family, cede control and listen.
After an intense 10 day meditation course, I saw that marriage is just a set of ideas we have about ourselves. Nothing really bad had happened. Nobody was terminally ill. 
I wasn’t losing her. Our relationship was just being reconfigured.
As my friend Keith, (also in the book) said,
“It’s time for you to have some fun, kiss another woman, fall in love again…”
We would divide our assets 50/50. No lawyers.
I could see that the best way to win her back, (or not win her back and be content) was to accept that if you love someone you want them to be happy, even if their plans don’t involve you.
Almost immediately, and maybe for the first time, a friendship began to blossom.
United in concern for our 3 children, we were now pulling in the same direction.
Jane and I were so different when we married in 1995 and it’s strange to contemplate the distressed, lost souls we became. Now she’s among my closest friends; 
The people I phone when something big happens. 
I’m so lucky to know her. It astonishes me that we have reached this place.
And yes, I did fall in love again…