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.
The walls are closing in. The air is being sucked out. I can’t move. I can’t breathe.
Crushed and suffocated.
Image shot on Nikon D700, 50mm lens, f5.6, s/s50, ISO400, natural light from the front. I wanted to shoot this portrait in situ but I moved house before I could get it done. Without the space I had wanted to shoot the image in, I used my garage at my new house to provide a dark background to shoot the subject and box. I then composited it onto an old image of my favourite room to shoot in. Textures and curve adjustments added afterwards. I’m really missing the room I used to shoot in my old house, I haven’t found a replacement yet.
“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…
When everyone wants a piece of you. When you feel pulled, grabbed and clawed at. When you want the world to let you go and leave you alone.
Be safe. Be alone.
‘Hands’ came from two places in my mind and for me represents two different mental states. The initial feeling was one of having everyone’s unwanted hands on me, the world clawing at me and pulling me apart. But it was also about self soothing, about trying to hold myself as tightly as possible, every part of me being held tight so hands couldn’t get to me. Blocking out the world as opposed to the world clawing its way in.
Image shot on D700, 50mm lens, f5.6, s/s50, iso500. Window light from right. I shot my hands multiple times on my body and then stitched them all on in Photoshop. One of the challenges I have found with using natural light is that it changes – without your permission! Consequently I had to work on the shadows and highlights to create a more believable setting. Oh, and my watch! I forgot to take my watch off! So I had to use the clone stamp tool to get rid of that. Then I added some textures, and tweaks in curves.
I have been travelling through quite a dark place for quite a long time. It got darker and darker until I could barely hold back the darkness enough to see, anything. The darkness changes the way things look, it changes the way you feel, it changes how you behave and what you think. It makes it difficult to communicate. This image is an interpretation of how I felt during a crisis period in my life. The weight of the darkness was so heavy, I thought it might consume me.
The darkness is fear.
Image shot on D700, 50mm lens, f5.6, s/s50, iso500. I expanded the frame to my right to allow me to frame my subject off centre. The Hurricane lamp came from Amazon, I wanted a light source so I could illustrate the darkness. I thought a Hurricane lamp was quite fitting for weathering an emotional storm. In Photoshop, I stitched the frame together and added light to the lamp and darkness to the rest of the frame. Then added textures and tweaks in curves and colour balance.