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.
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.
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.
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.