Grainger also used photography for very different purposes than self-promotion. Photography was a means of visual note making of his private world. He pursued a process of intimate documentation of his physicality, his sexual expression, his evanescent youthfulness and his living environment. He would often scrawl times, places and dates into the edge of negatives—an apparent extension of his prodigious note making in textual form.
Images of Grainger’s preoccupation with sadomasochistic activities occur in this collection in extraordinary numbers. He had a desire to document this practice, perhaps to help him better understand what he recognised were fairly unorthodox urges.
The collection contains many images of his wife Ella by herself, and of the two of them together—no different from any other married couple, except for the vast quantity of photographs that were made, and often duplicated. Some of his photographs appear to go beyond recording surface features and attempt to capture more fleeting emotional or psychological states.