have a screw loose (idiom)
a) to be eccentric
b) to be of unsound minded
I thought I was crazy. My mind didn’t work in the way it always had. Instead of firing quickly, it had almost ground to a halt. Cerebral thought was like walking through treacle. Everything was foggy, a record stuck on a scratch, a computer powering down. The most basic of tasks required my full attention, making a cup of tea, driving. I couldn’t make a decision, closed questions only please and I couldn’t always answer those. I was a computer which didn’t compute.
But below this robotic exterior, something was screaming with all its might. I couldn’t hear it, but I could feel it. It was small and far away, but it was powerful.
Is this what it is to be of unsound mind?
Dedicated to those times when you think you’re losing it. You’re not. It just feels like it for a while.
Nikon D700, 50mm, f8, 1/50, ISO500. I photographed the subject and the screws on the floor in one shot. The rest of the screws were photographed individually using a hair grip to hold them. I photographed different angles and rotations as well focal distances to ensure I could blend them into the original image and create believability. Finally some tweaks in curves and textures were added.
We are all damaged in some way. No one journeys life unscathed. Look closer. Be present. Be kind.
Nikon D700, 50mm lens, f4, 1/60, ISO 500. This image was a test shot for ‘Voices’. The floor boards are a laminate pallet laid out on my bedroom floor. The lightening was too directional for the image I wanted in “Voices’, but I loved the atmosphere and the pose. This was a simple edit in Photoshop, using curves to change tones and emphasis the light and dark. I added different textures to the background and the subject to create the ‘damaged’ effect.
Voices, internal or external, they all do damage. Negative self talk is hard to unlearn and extremely damaging. Understand that one flippant negative comment can stay in someone’s internal monologue for a life time. Be kind.
Nikon D700, 50mm lens, f4.5, 1/80, ISO 500. I took the picture of my back first using the 10 second timer. I no longer have access to my previous shooting space but want to keep a continuity of style for this series. This image was shot in my tiny, carpeted spare room. Therefore I expanded the frame by taking pictures above and below the main image of my back and to the left and right. To create the floor, I bought a panel of laminate floor boards to construct a wooden floor and laid them out on top of the carpet. I took multiple pictures of my mouth holding the camera in front of my face. Finally I used Photoshop to stitch all the images together, adjusted light and colour in curves and added texture.
There’s nothing graceful about putting yourself back together. It’s messy, it’s damn hard and it’s lonely. The only person who can do it is you and giving up is a lot easier. Recovery is a process and it’s takes time. It’s personal. It’s different for everyone. And when it’s complete, you will be different. Wear your scars with pride. Broken bones heal stronger than before, and so will you.
Image shot on Nikon D700, 50mm lens, f4.5, 1/40, ISO 500. I shot the main image 6 months ago, but wasn’t sure how to make the stitching believable. Then I had an idea but thought it was a bit gross. Eventually I went with the gross idea and bought a loin of pork from the supermarket. I slashed and ripped the skin and then sowed it back up with a darning needle and garden string. This second image was shot in a different location. I was worried about lighting differences making them difficult to blend and impacting on believability. I made sure the light came from the same angle – window light to the right. It was an experiment but I was really pleased with the result so I used it in the final image.
How is it possible to feel so empty, yet be so overwhelmed at the same time? To be robotic and void of emotion on the outside while inside the intensity of feeling everything all at once is annihilating. Mental health problems present this paradox.
Battling against the paradox for every second of every day is exhausting. So when I wobble, or say I’m not up to it today; rather than a judgement or a well meant suggestion, I’d prefer a simple ‘that’s ok’. Sometimes I can’t hug. That’s ok too.
Image shot on Nikon D700, 50mm lens, f4.5, s/s40, ISO500, natural light from the left. The preliminary image is a test shot from another image I am working on (haven’t finished). The hole is a cup shot face on to the rim. I used Photoshop to blend the two images together and finished it with some texture and tweaks in curves.
For those of us who have felt on the edge; or been told we are.
Image shot on Nikon D700, 50mm lens, f5.6, s/s50, ISO500, natural light from the left and right. I shot the hinge separately and composited it into the main image using Photoshop. Unfortunately I shot the hinge at a different location, the light was completely different and the angle was all kinds of wrong. This required a lot of curve adjustments, as did adding the shadowing for the hinge.
“Let me tell you a story of a little girl, who experienced so much pain that she could bare no more. She locked away her heart in a metal cage, deep in a dark dungeon furthest away from everywhere and everything. However, a person cannot function without a heart , so she crafted a new one, from the people and things around her. She looked outside herself and created a false one: one that would serve to keep away the pain. As she built her new heart, she slowly forgot about her old one, her real one, and lost it forever.”
Alone and forgotten
Most of us are guilty of hiding our true selves and creating false selves. This duplicity of identity protects ourselves from past pain and trauma and usually begins in childhood. This image came from a counselling session that I had, looking into childhood to see where the wobbly blocks began. Using visualisation, she told me to find myself as a little girl and do nothing but be present. This is what I saw. It was a powerful image and opened the door to so much self discovery and healing. It was a difficult and long journey though, one I think I’ll be on forever.
Image shot on Nikon D700, 50mm lens, f5.6, s/s50, ISO500, window light from right. Composite made of blank background shots stitches together in Photoshop to expand the frame of my little 50mm lens, me and a galvanised landscaping cage. I added a costume as it was important to represent the subject differently in this image, as a child, not an adult.
The attack is so fierce, pinned down with nowhere to go. Protect yourself as best you can, for now.
Lies and deceit.
‘Paper planes’ is about being under attack, missiles flying from everywhere, coming so thick and fast you just can’t cope. The only response, to make yourself small and cover your head, damage limitation.
There are many metaphors and hidden meanings in this image, often loaded with duplicity.
I wanted to convey how the things that hurt and bombard us into submission aren’t made from metal and fired from guns. The missiles being fired are paper planes, a childhood toy, made from a delicate material, which are sharp and pointed and fly fast. It is the vast numbers that knock us down, one paper plane doesn’t do much damage, but a torrade does, especially when it never ceases. The planes are coloured red to denote two concepts; blood for the damage they do, and love, from the duplicite people they come from. Honest people don’t throw paper planes at you.
Image shot on Nikon D700, 50mm lens, f5.6, s/s50, ISO500, window light from right. I expanded my frame to the right of the subject to allow space for the paper planes. The paper planes were one paper plane I made out of pink paper and photographed multiple time in different positions. I then cut each one out and composted onto my original image in Photoshop. Once again, mother nature kept changing the quality of my light source and so some work on shadows and highlights had to be done on the planes. I used replace colour into Photoshop to change the planes from pink to red. Textures and tweaks in curves. Oh, and another one where I forgot to take my watch off! Clone, clone, clone…