Final Major Project Bibliography.

•May 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Ackerman, J. (2009) Trapped – Prisoner Holds Hand Of Worker. [online] available from <http://www.visuramagazine.com/jenn-ackerman-trapped&gt; [22 April 2015]

Ackerman, J. (2013) Visura Magazine > JENN ACKERMAN | Trapped [online] available from <http://www.visuramagazine.com/jenn-ackerman-trapped&gt; [22 April 2015]

Anxietyuk.org.uk, (n.d.) Anxiety Information « Anxiety UK [online] available from <http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/get-help-now/anxietyinformation/&gt; [26 March 2015]

artforum.com, (2001) Sam Taylor-Wood, Still Life, 2001 [online] available from <http://artforum.com/video/id=25377&mode=large&gt; [11 February 2015]

Arts Council Collection. (1989) It’s A Still Life. London: The South Bank Board.

Artscouncilofwales.org.uk, (n.d.) Arts Council Of Wales | Helen Sear [online] available from <http://www.artscouncilofwales.org.uk/arts-in-wales/inspire/make/creative-wales/creative-wales-archive/awards-2010-11/helen-sear&gt; [11 February 2015]

Bate, D. (2009) Photography The Key Concepts. Oxford: Berg. Bustle.com, (2015) Bustle [online] available from <http://www.bustle.com/articles/10139-if-physical-diseases-were-treated-like-mental-illnesses-it-would-look-something-like-this&gt; [17 January 2015]

Bonnell, S. (2008) Ordinary Magic 2008 [online] available from <http://www.sianbonnell.com/work/photographs/ordinary-magic-2008/oml5-20120702-1439696964-1398#joomimg&gt; [14 February 2015]

Broken Light: A Photography Collective, (2012) About Us [online] available from <http://brokenlightcollective.com/about/&gt; [23 April 2015]

Cade, D. (2013) The Entrancing And Surreal Self-Portraiture Of Kyle Thompson [online] available from <http://petapixel.com/2013/12/15/entrancingly-surreal-self-portraiture-kyle-thompson/&gt; [22 April 2015]

Cpw.org, (2015) CPW | CPW | Kristina E. Knipe [online] available from <http://www.cpw.org/archives/kristina-knipe/&gt; [21 April 2015]

Cutler, C. (2015) CRAIG CUTLER [online] available from <http://craigcutler.com/&gt; [26 January 2015]

Cutler, C. (n.d.) Still Life Cacti [online] available from <http://craigcutler.com/still/still-life/cacti/28/&gt; [26 January 2015]

Cutler, C. (n.d.) Still Life Cacti Concept [online] available from <http://craigcutler.com/still/still-life/cacti/concept/0/&gt; [26 January 2015]

Cutler, C. (n.d.) Still Life Cacti Concept 1 [online] available from <http://craigcutler.com/still/still-life/cacti/concept/1/&gt; [26 January 2015]

Dennett, T. (1992) Jo Spence: Work [online] available from <http://www.jospence.org/work_index.html&gt; [21 April 2015]

edward-weston.com, (2015) Edward Weston – Edward-Weston.Com [online] available from <http://edward-weston.com/edward-weston/&gt; [29 January 2015]

Ellis, K. (2012) ‘New Media as a Powerful Ally in the Representation of Mental Illness: Youtube, Resistance and Change’ In ‘Mental Illness in Popular Media Essays on the Representation of Disorders‘. Edited by Rubin, L. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Company Inc. 184 – 201.

Hall, S., Evans, J. and Nixon, S. (2013) Representation. 2nd edn. London: SAGE.

Hamiltons, (2015) Irving Penn – Flowers [online] available from <http://www.hamiltonsgallery.com/artists/27-irving-penn/series/flowers/&gt; [29 January 2015]

Hammond, R. (2012) CONDEMNED – Mental Health In African Countries In Crisis [online] available from <http://www.robinhammond.co.uk/condemned-mental-health-in-african-countries-in-crisis/&gt; [22 April 2015]

Hinshaw, S. (2007) The Mark Of Shame: Stigma Of Mental Illness And An Agenda For Change.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Irving, P. (1967) Flowers [online] available from <http://www.hamiltonsgallery.com/artists/27-irving-penn/series/flowers/&gt; [29 January 2015]

Jospence.org, (2015) Jo Spence: Biography [online] available from <http://www.jospence.org/biography.html&gt; [21 April 2015]

Keedy, J. (n.d.) John William Keedy | It’S Hardly Noticeable Statement [online] available from <http://www.johnwilliamkeedy.com/its-hardly-noticeable-statement/&gt; [23 May 2015]

Keedy, J. (2012) It’s Hardly Noticeable XIII [online] available from <http://www.johnwilliamkeedy.com/itshardlynoticeable/#prettyPhoto%5Balbum%5D/3/&gt; [23 April 2015]

Knipe, K. (2013) I Don’t Know The Names Of Flowers [online] available from <http://www.kristinaeknipe.com/new.html&gt; [21 April 2015]

Letinsky, L. (1999) Untitled, #15, Hardly More Than Ever Series, 1999 [online] available from <http://www.wipnyc.org/blog/laura-letinsky&gt; [11 February 2015]

Lorigrinker.com, (2015) Lori Grinker Photography [online] available from <http://www.lorigrinker.com/projects_afterwar.html&gt; [21 April 2015]

Mapplethorpe.org, (2015) The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation – Flowers [online] available from <http://www.mapplethorpe.org/portfolios/flowers/&gt; [29 January 2015]

McConnell, G. (2009) Crystal Distortion [online] available from <http://www.industryart.com/artists/garethmcconnell/closeyoureyes/101/&gt; [15 February 2015]

Mentalhealth.org.uk, (2015) Mental Health Statistics: Anxiety [online] available from <http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-statistics/anxiety-statistics/&gt; [24 March 2015]

Mind.org.uk, (2015) About Anxiety | Mind, The Mental Health Charity – Help For Mental Health Problems [online] available from <http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/about-anxiety/#.VVsEW1VVikp&gt; [26 March 2015]

Mind.org.uk, (2015) About SAD | Mind, The Mental Health Charity – Help For Mental Health Problems [online] available from <http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/seasonal-affective-disorder/about-sad/#.VTZ3yRPF_fY&gt; [19 January 2015]

Naef, W. and Morgan, J. (1982). Counterparts. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Newton, K. and Rolph, C. (2006) Stilled. Cardiff: Ffotogallery.

Nhs.uk, (2015) Seasonal Affective Disorder – NHS Choices [online] available from <http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Seasonal-affective-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx&gt; [19 January 2015]

Obert, L. (n.d.) Dualites Statement [online] available from <http://www.lizobert.com/dualities/dualities_statment.html&gt; [22 April 2015]

O’Connor, M. (1989) Conceptual Still Life Photography. New York: New York Gold

Okahara, K. (2008) Kaori [online] available from <http://kosukeokahara.com/?pid=story_detail&id=8&gt; [21 April 2015]

Okahara, K. (2015) KOSUKE OKAHARA WORKS [online] available from <http://kosukeokahara.com/?pid=story_detail&id=8&gt; [21 April 2015]

Oxforddictionaries.com, (2015) Ethnography – Definition Of Ethnography In English From The Oxford Dictionary [online] available from <http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ethnography&gt; [16 January 2015]

Ozaslan, M. (n.d.) Merve Ozaslan Official Homepage [online] available from <http://www.merveozaslan.com/#!collections/cfvg&gt; [14 February 2015]

Ozaslan, M. (n.d.) Passenger [online] available from <http://www.merveozaslan.com/#!Passenger/zoom/cfvg/i31qzj&gt; [14 February 2015]

Pattison, J. (2015) In Sight Of My Skin [online] available from <http://thestareshow.tumblr.com/post/42842551077/photographer-emma-hardy-interviews-jennifer&gt; [24 March 2015]

Pendleton, B. (1982) Creative Still Life Photography. Poole: Blandford Press.

Petry, M. (2013) Nature Morte. London: Thames & Hudson.

Pink, S. (2007). Doing Visual Ethnography. 2nd ed. London: Sage.

Robert, F. and Robert, J. (2000) Faces. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Pugsley, S. (n.d.) Fine Art #17 [online] available from <http://www.samanthapugsley.com/#17&gt; [23 April 2015]

Pugsley, S. (2014) Trapped By Anxiety [online] available from <http://brokenlightcollective.com/2014/02/22/trapped-by-anxiety/&gt; [23 April 2015]

Rogers, A. and Pilgrim, D. (2005) A Sociology Of Mental Health And Illness. 3rd edn. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

Rolland, V. (2008) Polly, Hyde Park [online] available from <http://www.veroniquerolland.com/&gt; [15 April 2015]

Saberi, A. (n.d.) Blue Tit In The Snow [online] available from <http://www.alexsaberi.com/richmondpark/&gt; [14 February 2015]

Saberi, A. (n.d.) Richmond Park ‹ Alex Saberi Photographyalex Saberi Photography [online] available from <http://www.alexsaberi.com/richmondpark/&gt; [14 February 2015]

Sada.org.uk, (2015) The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association – Home [online] available from <http://www.sada.org.uk/index_2.php&gt; [19 January 2015]

Schiller, J. (2013) Feeling Neurotic? These Anxiety-Ridden Photos Will Keep You Company | WIRED [online] available from <http://www.wired.com/2013/06/john-keedy-anxiety/&gt; [23 April 2015]

Schwartz, L. (2015) Taylor Swift – Shake It Off PARODY [online] available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxd1HCceytI&gt; [19 January 2015]

Sear, H. (2011) Beyond The View 5 [online] available from <http://helensear.com/2011/07/07/beyond-the-view-2009-2011/&gt; [11 February 2015]

Senior, M. and Viveash, B. (1997) Health And Illness. Basingstoke, Hants.: Macmillan.

Spence, J. and Dennett, T. (1992) Jo Spence And Terry Dennett, Final Project [online] available from <http://www.jospence.org/final_project/f_p_3.html&gt; [21 April 2015]

Spence, J. and Dennett, T. (1992) Jo Spence And Terry Dennett, Final Project (Death Rituals And Return To Nature Series) [online] available from <http://www.jospence.org/final_project/f_p_2.html&gt; [21 April 2015]

Squiers, C. (2005) The Body At Risk. Berkeley: University of California.

Suzuki, H. (2015) I Challenged Myself To Express Emotions With Landscape Photography [online] available from <http://www.boredpanda.com/emotion/&gt; [14 February 2015]

Tew, J. (2005) Social Perspectives In Mental Health. London: Jessica Kingsley.

The Flower Expert, (2015) Flower Meanings By Type, Name, Color And Occasion – The Flower Expert [online] available from <http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/aboutflowers/flower-meanings&gt; [29 January 2015]

Thompson, K. (n.d.) Rain With Headlights. [online] available from <http://imgur.com/a/BGOLf&gt; [23 April 2015]

Vargas, D. (n.d.) People Of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project [online] available from <http://diorvargas.com/poc-mental-illness/&gt; [23 May 2015]

Weston, E. (1931) Cabbage Leaf [online] available from <http://edward-weston.com/edward-weston/&gt; [29 January 2015]

Williams, D. (2015) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Winter Depression. | Patient.Co.Uk [online] available from <http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/seasonal-affective-disorder-pro&gt; [19 January 2015]

Wipnyc.org, (n.d.) | Women In Photography | Laura Letinsky [online] available from <http://www.wipnyc.org/blog/laura-letinsky&gt; [11 February 2015]

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Reflective Report.

•May 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The body of work for my final major project has really challenged my photographic practice and critical analysis. There have been both strengths and weaknesses throughout the process to create my body of work, which has helped develop my professional independence.

The context my piece was created for was to contribute to challenging the stigma surrounding mental health we encounter through society and media representation, as well as raise awareness of its need for acknowledgement as much as any physical illness. In terms of relating my body of work to contemporary photographic practice, I have built upon how current mental health issues are photographed through researching various artists’ techniques and making my own project personal through self-portraits and representation of emotion through still life and landscape. This is similar to one of the artists I researched, John William Keedy, who also led me to consider the importance of suitability for the audience. Inspired by this, I have made my project approachable by a wide audience by featuring relatable still life, representing recognisable emotions. My project has worked effectively by allowing me to represent my anxiety disorder how I wish rather than being influenced by society’s prejudice, an acknowledged issue about the misconceptions of mental health. It is extremely personal account and although it has only made a small contribution to changing social perceptions, it shows others what it is like. The more people who learn about anxiety and more people share their experiences, the more the stigma will reduce and my photographic practice has contributed to this contemporary issue.

For my final exhibition piece, I created two diptychs printed at A4 size in 12 x 16 inch frames so they were subtle and intriguing, inviting the viewer to absorb the message being shared and encourage them to engage with the accompanying book featuring my complete set of images. I created a book to be personal and intimate for the viewer as well as understanding the full narrative of how photography and nature have played a huge part in coping with my anxiety. The sequencing of images builds up the feelings and struggle with anxiety, followed by the release of coping mechanisms and images filled with hope for the future. Unfortunately, my book did not print at the desired quality due to fault of my own. This was a problem I could not overcome due to money and time constraints and I had to reconsider whether I wanted to still exhibit it. However, I really felt it was vital to the narrative and understanding of my project as the framed prints invites the viewer but the book tells my story in more detail.

There has been a great change from where my final major project began to where it has ended. Before the module began, I decided to photograph the seasons and this later developed into using these images to represent the stories of those suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful as I was extremely unhappy with my project and felt like I was trying to force these images to fit my brief as well as other various reasons. Although it was a big decision, I overcame this problem by changing my project about my own personal battle about anxiety. I am so glad I made this decision, as I was confident with my idea and passionate about what I wanted to achieve from it. This way, it resolved issues with correctly representing mental illness as it was my own honest story as well as the problem with trying to fit the images I had previously taken into the new brief as photographing elements of nature has been a coping mechanism for dealing with my anxiety.

With this new idea, I also wanted to incorporate self-portraits for more depth and enhance the viewer’s understanding. By combining these with my still lives and landscapes, I think it creates a strong pairing by picking up similarities in the two images to portray emotion and feeling. Some images have worked well by themselves, making the pace of the book coherent and calm giving the reader time to view and reflect. However, I also think it could work negatively if the viewer were not able to draw the message I am trying to represent but this doesn’t make it unsuccessful. It means the book is not too literal and restricted; it’s open to the viewer’s interpretation, which makes it plausible and enjoyable for a wider audience. With a brief use of descriptive text in my book, it aids the viewer’s understanding by its placement in the sequence, which helps signify the change of the improvement of my anxiety.

Although I don’t feel the project is my best body of work, it has helped me develop professionally by improving my studio lighting skills, creativity with composition and sequencing a narrative to share an important message. I do think there is room for improvement as if I had more time, I would have been more experimental and had more depth to my narrative. This may be something I expand upon in the future with my photographic practice but for now my project has made a small contribution to challenging the stigma surrounding mental health.

Final Exhibition Pieces.

•May 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

After making my final decisions for what images I was going to have for my final exhibition pieces, I then had to decide on my frames, size of prints and type of paper. Emma encouraged me to take some print outs with me to Hobbycraft and hold them up against different frame colours and sizes to help visualise how it would look and what would suit my images best, therefore I went straight there after the tutorial.

In my mind, I was conscious of not printing any bigger than A4 because I felt as I wanted my images to be relatable and quite intimate as it’s discussing a type of illness, it would be better to keep them at this size. If I printed them larger, I personally feel it would look like I was trying to be bold and brass about challenging the stigma to make a big statement, which might work quite well in other circumstances but for me it was just not what I wanted. I had considered going smaller but then I felt the viewer would really have to hone in close to see the details of the image. Emma suggested potentially looking at about 9 x 6 inch prints so I also kept this in mind when looking at different frame sizes. I also had in mind that I wanted to have black frames but I also considered other options such as white and dark brown to see how well they worked with my print.

Firstly, I came across the A4 frames with no window mount, what I initially thought I would want to use. There were no black ones but dark brown and white ones. To begin with, I found it really hard to visualise my prints in the frame especially as my quick paper prints had a white border around the edge which I was pretty sure I didn’t want. Instead, I folded down these white edges on the paper prints and surprisingly this made a huge difference in helping me consider what frame would work best.

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I was so glad I actually went and did this experimenting because it made me realise I wasn’t actually very keen on this A4 frame, especially after I came across a 12 x 16 inch frame with a window mount which meant I could include an A4 print. I was quite sure an A4 frame was what I wanted but after holding up my prints against this frame, I realised how wrong I was and how much I preferred it. By having the A4 frame it meant it drew the viewer right to the centre which was okay, but it meant the detail around the edge kind of got lost in viewing. Whereas with the 12 x 16 inch frame, this is illuminated through the use of the window mount and the detail that would have been lost in viewing is now replaced with the mount. After concluding this was the frame I wanted, I had to decide which colour frame I wanted. This varied depending on the photo as the white frame actually worked quite well with the underwater photo, whereas with the nails digging into skin image it looked awful. I also considered as I had two positive images and two negative, whether it would work better by having a lighter frame for the positives and darker for negatives. However I thought this would be really inconsistent and wanted to keep the same throughout to create a sense of unity with my images as together they are creating a narrative.

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Surprisingly, I found myself being drawn to the dark brown frame as I thought it really enhance the overall presentation aesthetically. However I thought the brown frames worked if these were being hung in a home rather than an exhibition, so overall it felt that black was definitely the decision to go for. It enhances the image without distracting away from it and also black makes a bigger statement than brown (although I know I said I didn’t want to make a statement through size, I felt it was more achievable and justifiable through the frames). The black also runs similar to the black pages in my book, which I previously acknowledged how the contrast enhances my photos and also represents how the anxiety is always looming despite it getting better.

Once I bought my frames and knew I was definitely printed my images size A4, I was able to go ahead and order them. I decided to go with The Print Space as I was able to get hold of some test papers so I could consider what paper would work best for my images. I was drawn to 3 types: fuji matt, epson semi-gloss and giclee canson baryta. Comparing these side by side, I concluded that I didn’t want to go for matt as I thought it would make my images too flat. I already felt that glossy would be too much for my images but I definitely wanted to have a bit of shine too them, hence why I picked out semi-gloss as this was a suitable in between of matt and gloss. Canson baryta was something a little different and I picked up how it had quite a shine to it when reflected in certain lights, more so than semi-gloss therefore I decided to go with semi-gloss overall. I also decided not to print my images with a border as the window mount worked well as it was.

After how my book turned out, I was particularly apprehensive of how these prints would look especially so close to the deadline and also at quite a cost. However when they arrived I was really pleased with them and excited to get them in the frames to see the finished product.

Finally, I needed to consider how I was going to position my frames in the exhibition and the distance between them, as well as what order I wanted the photos to be in the frames. My frames would be landscape and in two pairs. I didn’t want them separated too far apart as it would lose the sense of narrative told through the 4 images. First I looked at the 4 frames with an inch distance between them all.

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This worked horizontally to show the connection of the pair but not vertically. Having them this close meant they were all related which they are in terms of creating a narrative, but as I have the positive pair and negative pair, I felt this needed to be distinguishable by a larger gap vertically. I tried a 2 inch gap, but this just looked like I hadn’t got my measurements right rather than it being deliberate. Therefore I tried a 2.5 inch gap between the middle.

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I also tried a 3 inch gap.

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It is hard to see from the images but there did seem to be a noticeable difference with the extra 0.5 inch. In my opinion, a 3 inch gap was too big and kind of made the bottom two look out of place and not relevant. The 2.5 inch gap was just right for creating a suitable distance to signify the difference between the building up of anxiety and the release of anxiety but without being too far apart that it separates the narrative. If I choose to include my book, I will plinth central to my 4 frames and neatly below so it doesn’t instantly distract away from what is on the wall.

I also experimented with a couple of different orders of the four images to see which worked best.

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I decided the bottom arrangement worked best by having the two self portraits on diagonals and then the same with the coping mechanisms. By having these on the same sides I felt it made it too repetitive. Also, the balloon image worked better going first on the bottom row as I am still holding onto the balloons (anxiety) whereas the dandelion has small segments flying away showing I am letting go, but the ones that still remain on the stem held in my hand again shows how it remains.

Individual tutorials.

•May 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

With my final tutorial with Caroline, I wanted to confirm decisions for my final exhibit pieces. After Emma suggested a triptych, I made the connection between having 3 images and my title. As my title is ‘My Anxiety, My Struggle, My Control’, I thought I could possibly have an image which represents anxiety, struggle and control. As I had a few images which could represent both anxiety and struggle, I found it quite hard to define which would be the strongest to fit each. I went into my tutorial with Caroline not really sure of which images to use, but Caroline thought it would be best for me to quickly print some shots to help visualise the 3 pieces. I picked out 9 images which I thought were the strongest, including particular ones Caroline had picked out including the balloon, dandelion, rose, scratching and nail digging into skin.

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Caroline definitely felt that some images were stronger than others but also expressed how some of these 9 images reiterate the same kind of idea, such as the nail digging into the skin and scratching of the collar. This could make it quite repetitive rather than a series which compliments each other to create a strong narrative. She advised me that using more than one image created a stronger narrative, but not to pick images which were too literal. From this selection, Caroline removed the image of the tree, flower and one of me crying as they didn’t work so strongly in creating the narrative.

There were a number of combinations to experiment with such as the nail digging into the skin, the underwater image and the scratching of the collarbone but these all portrayed feelings of anxiety and didn’t include a still life which I felt was important as it holds a huge role within my project. A particularly good pairing was the image of me holding the balloons and the dandelion, something which I previously picked up on when reviewing my selection for potential finals as they both represent slowly letting go of my anxiety but even though it gets better, it still remains with me. However, these two wouldn’t just work on their own, so I considered whether these 2 could be paired with 3 images to portray my anxiety like the underwater one, nails in skin and scratching at collarbone. However I felt like having 5 framed prints was just too much especially with the book, I just felt as it there would be too much going on. I want to make it approachable and digestible. Finally I came to the decision to use these 3 final images.

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By using these 3, it meant I could include a still life image but also cover both the build up of the anxiety and the release. It also fit well with the title ‘my anxiety’ represented by my coping mechanism of digging nails into the skin when overwhelmed by anxiety; ‘my struggle’ represented by not being able to breathe underwater signifying not being able to breathe when having a panic attack; ‘my control’ represented by segments of the dandelion flying off into the distance, signifying my anxiety slowly drifting away and improving.

Caroline advised me to meet with Emma Lambert the following day to discuss my final decisions and Emma liked the combination of the first two particularly with the tones but wasn’t sure about the third of the dandelion. I explained how I had picked 3 after she suggested a triptych and also to fit with my title. Emma then suggested whether I could do 4 instead, bringing back in the image of me holding the balloon to go with the dandelion and lead me to consider whether this would become much of a problem in relation to the title. I wasn’t sure at first, but the more I thought about it the more it grew on me. I thought 5 would be too much, but 4 seemed like the right balance to create a suitable narrative as well bring back the great combination of the 2 images. I decided that although it didn’t fit the same ‘power of 3’ as the title, it was more important to get the exhibition right than to make it work with the title because it still represented it.

I then discussed presentation methods with Emma, explaining I was considering having them framed and A4, without a window mount or border. Emma suggested I use this opportunity to really make an impression as although I expressed I didn’t want them to be bold or big and making a statement, whether I could use mounting effectively to create something to entice the viewer. Emma felt as though my anxiety was being shown through my hesitation to make bolder choices for my presentation and encouraged me to explore my options of mounting, borders and different coloured frames.

My Anxiety, My Struggle, My Control.

•May 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I have been wanting to start a blog about my anxiety for a long time, to be able to share my experiences and communicate with others about ways of dealing with anxiety and overcoming it. Doing this project has given the courage to actually start it and finally write my first post. During my research about mental health I looked at ‘New Media as a Powerful Ally in the Representation of Mental Illness: Youtube, Resistance and Change‘ by Katie Ellis and came across an important quote which supports why I made the decision to create this blog.

“Telling illness narratives is a valuable means of recovery when the body becomes what the individual never expected it would – damaged. Narrative is vital, as the ill person works out their changing identity, and position in the world of health, continuing when they are no longer ill, but remain marked by their experience.” (Ellis 2012: 192).

Not only is this relevant for my blog, but it’s also relevant for the purpose of my whole project. Having my life consumed by anxiety was something I never expected or was never prepared for, especially the extreme circumstances it placed me in and horrific experiences it has put me through. By creating a narrative, it has helped me identify in myself how I want to be able to help others knowing what a horrendous experience it can be. Also, I have been subject to the stigma which is attached to mental health and knowing what this is like has inspired me to make my contribution to challenging and changing it. Mental illness can create an incredibly lonely world, so being subject to stigma is the last thing those who are suffering need.

I decided to name my blog My Anxiety, My Struggle, My Control as I want to share my experience of all 3 and also including control in the title shows how I have learnt to handle it and become a better person because of it. This is why I also decided to name my project the same to combine my blog and this project to demonstrate my contribution to changing society’s perception of mental illness and hopefully help others to speak about theirs. Since posting, I have received 2 comments and 7 likes – knowing people are already learning about my journey after one blog post is invigorating and speaking to other’s, even at this point after having anxiety for the past 4 years, that I’m not alone. Despite the negatives of the internet, it can provide a huge support network for those who need it.


 

Hello, My name is Vikki and I have an anxiety disorder.

After long and careful consideration, I decided that was the best opening line. Then I stopped to eat biscuits. I have been wanting to start a blog for a long time with a lot of things to say and now I finally have, I don’t know what to say. It’s probably best to start at the beginning.

It was around Summer 2011 where I found myself revising for the exams of my first year of A-levels, when I suddenly started feeling very, very sick. I stopped writing my Geography notes and tried to eat some chicken soup for lunch, the go-to for when you’re poorly sick. But I couldn’t eat it. I couldn’t shake this feeling. Since then, things haven’t ever been the same. From there, my hazy memory recalls sleepless nights, not being able to eat and fear of what each day held. Before I knew it, I was suffering with crippling anxiety which often left me too scared to leave the house. Each day became a battle with my own mind.

From a young age, I have always had Emetophobia – a fear of vomiting and seeing/being around others who are sick. When I was younger I was unaware it was a genuine phobia, but I knew I hated it and I knew I was scared. Even school trips would fill me with dread incase somebody suffered with travel sickness, my little heart pounding with fear. As I grew older, I realised it was actually a ‘real’ phobia and only recently have I learnt it’s quite common. Sometimes it’s been hard to explain and quite frankly embarrassing, but it’s just something I’ve learnt to deal with. Yet little did I ever think this phobia would end up taking over my life, making me overly analytical of how well cooked my food is, using antibacterial hand gel like my life depends on it and freaking out at the hint of a stomach ache.

Despite my lowest points and rollercoaster ride through the last 4 years of my life, I’m still here and ready to tell my story. I’m using this blog not only to help myself, but to help others as I think it is so important to feel supported, as well as challenging the stigma which surrounds mental health. I’d love to hear from you.

Apart from my anxiety, I am crawling through to the end of my final year of university studying photography, lover of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Emmerdale, music of contradicting genres, eating unhealthily, spending unnecessary amounts of money on shoes and spending time with my wonderful family and boyfriend, about to attempt to teach myself to play the violin and learn to drive…. and get a job of course.

V 🙂


Ellis, K. (2012) ‘New Media as a Powerful Ally in the Representation of Mental Illness: Youtube, Resistance and Change’ In ‘Mental Illness in Popular Media Essays on the Representation of Disorders‘. Edited by Rubin, L. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Company Inc. 184 – 201.

Final Book Decisions & Creation.

•May 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I decided I wanted to create a book in order to use more of the images I had shoot over the past few months, to create a narrative about my battle with anxiety. Shown in my previous project development, I considered the layout of my book to be similar to the work of Jennifer Pattison where she combined nude portraits with landscapes to act as a breather for the viewer and take everything, showing where Pattison and the model found themselves at that time. By putting my self portraits and still lives together, I intended them to compliment and enhance each other to portray a particular meaning and tell more about my experience with anxiety.

One of the key things Emma Critchley pointed out to me as although this worked in some cases which she saw in the examples I showed her, that I don’t necessarily always have to stick to this structure of pairing all my images. She noticed how some of the still lives acted a release from the anxiety, as if it was reassuring the viewer that things were going to be okay so instead, Emma suggested I could build up the anxiety then use my still lives as the release, as photographing and being outdoors was one of my main coping mechanisms. I really liked this idea, and once I started piecing a potential layout together I was able to see that it could actually work.

I decided I also wanted to include some text to help define my project and signify the change to the viewer. I chose to include my artist statement at the beginning of my book, to give a brief description of what it was about and the purpose of doing the project – not only to share my story, but to encourage other’s to speak out about theirs. I felt it was necessary to do this as although I tried to compose my images so they were relatable and interpretable to the viewer, in my opinion it was important to aid the audience’s understanding as I have often found myself admiring work but wanting to know more, why or what. My artist statement is followed by a selection of images which all contribute to building up my fear and battle with anxiety. I then decided I wanted to include the same text I used to narrate my piece in Phonar with a few slight edits, as I gained really good feedback for it and felt it give a short but descriptive insight to the extremes of how anxiety has ruled my life. The finishing line also leads brilliantly into showing how various things have helped my anxiety improve which have made up my images – “I’m not there yet, but one day I will be”. Lines like “sometimes I want to cry, it distracts me from the attack” instantly allows the viewer to make the connection between the image of me crying and why it is related to my anxiety. This is why I felt the text was important to include to make sense of it and make it more personal as it is written by me and received as if I am speaking to the viewer.


 

I remember that day. That day that life changed forever. I felt sick and couldn’t eat. That was just the beginning.

Little did I know then, this was the beginning of my anxiety disorder. A disorder that has led me to have panic attacks every day. Uncontrollable shaking as adrenaline pumps through my body. Heart pounding. Barely breathing.

Sweaty palms. Exhaustion. Embarrassment. Loss of control.

My face has turned grey whilst fear has swamped my mind. I’ve contemplated calling an ambulance from experiencing severe chest pains. I’ve begged people to help me while I can barely breathe.

Sometimes I want to cry, it distracts me from the attack.

Sometimes I’m exhausted, the constant anxiety drains my energy.

I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be normal.

I dream of my future, with my anxiety always in the back of my mind.

People will doubt you. People will call you a liar.

Some simply won’t understand.

But that’s okay.

You’re not alone.

Appointments. Counselling. Family. Friends. University. Photography. Outdoors. They helped save me.

I’m not there yet, but one day I will be.


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Here is a very rough draft of my final choices for the sequence of the book. Some images worked really well as a pair and complimented each other to represent particular emotions and experiences. On the other hand, I felt others were stronger alone and had enough to speak for themselves. The blank pieces of paper represent where I am keeping the page blank. I decided to have these pages black because I felt it contrasted best to my images and reflects the dark battle of a life with anxiety. Even when the second part of the book turned positive, I still kept the pages black as I didn’t think changing it would work but also because I wanted it to represent how the anxiety still remains throughout even though it’s been improving.

I was initially going to print my book with Blurb, but as my schedule got delayed by having to shoot some extra images and re-order the sequencing of the book, I was on a tight deadline as I wanted to make sure it would be delivered as soon as possible as the deadline was closing in. I looked at the company Ex Why Zed which we are having our catalogues printed with and there were great reviews of the quality of the books. I e-mailed them for a quote of an A4 landscape book of with a total of 44 pages, wire stitching, silk 300gsm for the cover and silk 130gsm for the inside pages. I had considered having my book square but the more I thought about it I realised it would mean a lot of cropping and cutting out detail in my images and I also didn’t have any particular reason for why I wanted it to be square other than I just wanted it to be different. Therefore I decided to go with standard landscape size at A4 to make it a suitable, readable size. I decided to go for silk coating as I felt this was most suitable. With the other options, I felt gloss would have made the images too shiny, I didn’t feel uncoated would create the right texture for my book and matt would have left it looking quite flat. Silk was a nice balance between being too flat and too shiny. The company came back to me with a quote of £304 for 1, £316 for 3 or £328 for 5 copies. Sadly, there was absolutely no way that I could afford these prices so I had to rethink a couple of points. The company did however suggest an A5 landscape book as a cheaper option with 1 copy for £42 or 5 at £48. This was a lot more justifiable and I was actually more drawn to the idea of an A5 book as it makes it more personal and intimate. I requested how much it would cost to have it perfect bound rather than wire stitching and they came back to me with a quote of £76 for one. This still seemed quite over my desired price, but I thought with the brilliant reviews for quality it would be worth it, as well asking about their turn around time I knew it would be delivered in time. The website was extremely helpful with instructions of how to put the book together on InDesign, although I have had a bit of experience with it in the past, this was definitely useful in keeping me on track and understanding how to include the right length for the spine. I created two documents, the cover page and text pages.

book

I was so relieved to have this finally sorted, ordered and paid for, despite it costing a lot more than I had expected. Sadly, when the book arrived I was quite disappointed but I believe this was a fault of my own. One of the requirements for the images in the book was for them to be CMYK colour. I had edited all my finals before hand, and then changed them to this mode before uploading them into my indesign document. On a few of the images it actually made quite a difference, but I didn’t seem to make any connection to how this would effect their print quality so I dismissed it and continued to order my book. Looking through it now, I’ve realised that this obviously did have an impact on how they appeared visually but I honestly just didn’t even make the connection at the time and I am awfully disappointed in myself for not doing so, particularly after I spent quite a bit of money on having it printed. At this point, I am unsure as whether I now want to include the book as part of my final exhibit as I just don’t feel the overall quality is as good as it needs to be. I feel this would be a great loss as although I would have the final framed prints, I felt the book had a lot more to offer to the viewer about my story and how my photography has helped me, there is a lot of representation through the composition of images and sequencing of the book to show my journey. This will be something I have to seriously consider but I will hopefully have a bit more time to consider this if I am able to get some feedback on it.

Selection & Editing for Finals.

•May 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

As I had conducted a fair amount of photo-shoots at this point, meaning a lot of potential images and with a couple of shifts in my project idea, I felt it would be best to pick out all the possible finals and edit them accordingly so then I could make final selections for what images I wanted to include in my book and also print for my final exhibit.

final1

For me, the biggest difficulty I have faced with my anxiety is feeling like I am constantly engulfed by it like I can’t do anything without it affecting my enjoyment, engagement and actually being able to relax. This feeling of being ‘trapped’ is something I definitely wanted to convey through an image and after seeing the particular image by Samantha Puglsey I realised how relatable it can actually be to the viewer. For this image I wanted a dark plain background, signifying loneliness and the daunting effect of anxiety of my life. I wanted to have the mask on in this image as throughout my series I wanted to keep the majority, if not all of my face covered to signify how I feel as if anxiety has taken away my personality. This is similar to something Jo Spence explored with the use of a mask covered in make up which suggests a ‘fake’ persona she put on during her battle with cancer. In order to create this image, I shot the first one of myself on the floor, then lots of individual images of hands coming in from various directions. I wanted the grasp of the hand to look daunting and menacing, signifying my anxiety constantly grabbing at me and pulling me down. They didn’t always look so good in every image so often I would just duplicate the hand and use free transform to rotate it and place it accordingly. I spread the hands out around the image to give the sense of entrapment and no escape. To begin with, I felt this was my strongest image to portray how much anxiety has had an effect on my life but I have had mixed reviews of people’s opinions on it. Emma Critchley liked how it was staged and quite theatrical, whereas Emma Lambert felt it was one of my weakest. As I was going to use it as my main print for the final exhibit, I then had to reconsider whether this would be the best to use or instead a series of images to reiterate my narrative of the anxiety, struggle and control.

Final2

I shot this image in order to portray the petrifying feeling of not being able to breathe during a panic attack, hence why I shot it underwater where we cannot breathe. I wanted to create bubbles infront of my face to continue the running theme of not being able to see it and taking away my personality. I think the texture of the water, with the ripples and bubbles contrasts really well and the different shapes distort my face particularly around the eyes, something Emma Critchley picked up on and thought it worked particularly well. Whilst it is quite obvious that it is myself underwater, this distorting effect represents feelings of panic and struggle, what I feel during a panic attack. I decided to decrease the saturation so that it gave the image a sense of coldness and lifelessness. It also enhanced the strong contrasts between my dark hair, white bath and clear water. Again, I think this image is quite relatable as the viewer can identify with not being able to breathe underwater and knowing that my project will be about anxiety, the representation of a panic attack will be clear.

Final3

I personally feel that this is one of my strongest landscape shots as for me it again represents the feeling of entrapment though the darkness and entwining branches. By taking this shot looking upwards, it makes the tree appear daunting and powerful and as you can visualise the branches expanding beyond the edge of the frame, it gives this sense of no escape. I drew a parallel between this image and the first, with the branches and the hands both representing feeling trapped but when I suggested this pairing to David Rule, he thought the two together was repeating the same message rather than complimenting each other therefore when making final edits it may be worth considering if these images work stronger alone. I do think this image is a little underexposed but it actually works really well as the darkness enhances the mood of the photo, with the light background contrasting greatly to the dark branches.

Final4

This is another one of my favourite images which represents one of my coping mechanisms, playing and pulling with my hair to help distract my mind when feeling particularly anxious. With this image, I wanted to be able to show the pulling and strain on the hair which can be seen with the strand on the right held between my fingers while the rest hangs loosely. The textures here are quite soft from both the hair and the skin, as well as an interesting contrast between the skin colour and dark brown hair. The darkest value is held in the hair which draws the eye immediately to the centre of the photo but then leads round to the hand playing with the hair which is communicating my message. I have cropped this image closely to focus solely on this and no other distracting detail. I used levels on Photoshop to slightly lighten the image overall and bring out some of the texture in the strands of hair which was lost slightly through the artificially lighting used in the studio.

Final5

This image represents another coping mechanism when I often dig my nails into my skin so the pain distracts me from overwhelming anxiety. I decided to make the mark then move my finger away slightly, so you can see the indentation on the skin showing the severity of strength used to make this mark and help take my mind off my anxiety. I shot the image using a macro lens to get really close up and define this line, as well as the soft textures of the skin which makes the indent stand out even more as its quite raw and bold. By picking up these textures, I thought it would pair particularly well with a still life image which I have also shot with the macro lens and picked up the different textures and shapes within the object to run parallel to the texture of the skin. Caroline Molloy particularly picked up on this as one of my strongest images therefore it is definitely worth considering including this for my final exhibit and how to enhance it in the book. I was a little unsure of the colour in the image but I didn’t feel as though I knew what to do to improve its appearance and also felt it important to keep the skin tone colour to make it relatable, as well as increasing the vibrance to +20 to enhance this a little.

Final6

I thought this image a little different to the other’s I have picked out as it I don’t know whether I would class it as a still life or even a landscape image. For me, when I encountered this it symbolised feelings of being left behind which represents well the feeling of isolation from anxiety. This is enhanced by the sprinkling of snow suggesting it has been left behind for a long time and gives a cold feeling to the image overall. There are interesting contrasts of colour and texture here, such as the brown/green of the wall contrasting to the blue glove and white snow, and the hardness of the wall contrasts to the soft knitted glove and frosty icicles. I think this gives the image a very natural feel, but the colours don’t enhance the representation and seems quite basic. Also, the glove is small and represents a child’s hand which is completely irrelevant here. Therefore, although I like the concept of feeling left behind I don’t feel as though it is the best image to portray this representation.

Final7

I like this image because it fits really well with the running theme of death in still life through the decaying of the lead which can be seen through the crumbly texture and small holes throughout. The brown colour also symbolises the changing of seasons and ending lifecycle of the leaf. For me, I felt this would run well next to a self-portrait to suggest feelings of ‘falling apart’ or not being able to pull myself together with anxiety constantly ruling my life. However I don’t think this is quite an easy thing to pick up on therefore it may not work so well within my selection. The macro lens has beautifully defined the texture of the leaf and the artificial studio light has lit the image beautifully to capture the rich brown tone and contrasting dark background, demonstrating my understanding of a common technique in still life by keeping the background plain so it does not detract away from the detail of the subject.

Final8

I didn’t expect to be using this image once my project started developing further than my very intial ideas of photographing the seasons but as I looked back through all my shoots there was something about this which stood out to me. I took this from the inside of a pumpkin, creating a new perspective as well as using a macro lens which has created an interesting depth of field focusing the centre and blurring around the edges. I think once you know this is a pumpkin it can detract away from its representation but I don’t feel it is immediately obvious and what strikes your attention first is the shapes which make up a face. This is similar to the work by Francois & Jean Robert who created ‘Faces’ which I researched and identified how we recognise different shapes/elements as a face through our own understanding of signs. The face looks menacing and evil, representing how anxiety acts like an inner demon constantly taking over control. I think this is really enhanced by the vibrant orange and dark background creating a dynamic contrast which I enhanced slightly through photoshop by increasing it +10.

Final9

I’m not so sure about the use of this for the inclusion of my finals but what stood out to me was the gentle decaying of the flower which can be seen through the browning on the white petals. Again, this draws on the feelings of deterioration and anxiety breaking you down. I decreased both the vibrance and saturation here to make the flower look lifeless, whilst increasing highlights by 15% which enhanced the colour of the decaying petals drawing the viewer to notice this more. The flower here looks fragile and delicate, something anxiety can often leave you feeling after a huge attack. Something which was once beautiful is now decaying again playing on the running theme of the reminder of death in the still life genre, and in terms of representation of emotion it suggests how anxiety has a huge run down effect on a life which was once ‘normal’ and blooming.

Final10

At first, this wasn’t an image I was considering for final selection but after the idea of creating the image of scratching/rubbing on the collar, I thought this would work really well alongside it. As the scratching brought up red streaks, I thought this runs parallel to these vibrant red leaves. The macro lens has defined the texture greatly in these leaves as well as slight discolouring and lines. The red also contrasts greatly to the dark black background enhanced by artificial light. I think the close up crop has also made the shape of the leaf a bit more interesting as the shape isn’t instantly recognisable. I did experiment with lightening the image slightly but this just took away from the aesthetics of the image.

Final11

I thought this particular image worked well along side the close up of the nail digging into the skin as both really highlight the textures of the object. I presented this pairing in tutorials previously and received quite a positive response so I think I will be using them together in the book. This is actually one of my favourite images as with the use of the macro lens you really get to see the detail of the leaf, something which I had never appreciated so much before. It really highlights all the thin, delicate lines and the brown colouring gives a kind of skin like appearance. This close up perspective means again it isn’t instantly recognisable of a leaf which encourages the viewer to draw the meaning from what they see rather than what they instantly know about what it is.

Final13 I picked out this image as a potential final after David Rule brought to my attention continuing the theme of trees. I like this image because it is so colourful, with the bright sun on the opposing side creating soft shadows underneath the leaves and various tones of yellow. Although it is aesthetically pleasing, I’m not sure how it works it terms of representation of emotion. It is good to look at but doesn’t portray a particular meaning relevant to anxiety therefore I am unsure whether it would be best to include it. Nonetheless, it may work alongside something else to portray a message.

Final14

The idea for this image stemmed from something I had previously explored in Picbod, a self portrait where half of my face was in darkness and half lit up symbolising how people often have a hidden battle which they are hiding from society. In this case, it represents my anxiety. By lighting the image from the right whilst using a black barn door to absorb the light on the left, this has darkened the left side of my face. By looking down, it makes me look vulnerable and melancholy. I enhanced this contrast by moving the white slider to 190 through levels to lighter the white side of the mask without detracting away from the darker side. I did also adjust the contrast but this didn’t seem to add anything other than losing the detail in the hair. I also experimented with a cooling filter to give the image a colder feel but the original colour made it feel ‘fuller’ overall.

Final15P

I don’t feel as though this composition is one of my strongest but I think it’s important to include in terms of representation. Daffodils begin to bloom in Spring as the dark cold days of Winter has passed the trees remain bare, this is the first sign of new life growing. For me, it symbolises feelings of hope which would work well on the positive side of my book. I increased the contrast to +30 to deepen the green colour of the stems compared to the light petals as well as enhancing the saturation to boost the difference between the yellow centre and white petals. I would have liked to have got a close up shot of a daffodil possibly with a macro lens but at the same time, this could have detracted away from the recognisable shape and recognition of the daffodil.

Final16

I am already quite sure that I won’t be including this image in my final selection, but thought it was appropriate to consider it as it shows new life growing similar to the daffodils, a sense of hope and beauty. I like the way this flower contrasts to the dark background making it stand out more, as well as the soft petals contrasting to the hardness of the poles. However this detail in the background isn’t too important as the wide aperture enhances the focus on just the flower and the new buds waiting to bloom. The natural sunlight is quite harsh here but it made me think of an image from Rinko Kawauchi’s ‘Illuminance’ where the light is quite dominating and distorting so it makes the image a bit different from my others.

Final17

I didn’t edit this photo in anyway as I felt the colours worked great as they were. This was taken from inside a window, something I wouldn’t usually do but for the purpose of the photo worked really well here. I think this image is easily identifiable and relatable as we have often found ourselves on the insides looking out to gloomy, dark weather. In this case, the darkness and raindrops represent the anxiety and the saddening feelings which accompany it. The different sizes and shapes of the raindrops creates a repetitive patten but spreads the visual weight all over rather than drawing the eye to one particular space.

Final18

Although this image is very similar to the previous, it will definitely be worth considering the use of this to create a parallel whereas this one represents feelings of positivity. I like this image because it shows the clouds moving away revealing a bright blue sky, again representing feelings of hope and escape whilst the raindrops remain on the window which act as a reminder that the anxiety doesn’t instantly go away and how it still stays with me. I did a little bit of editing here by increasing the saturation to +20 to enhance the blue tones and the representation of positivity.

Final19

This image is very similar to the one of the glove covered in snow, with the footprint representing being left behind or suggesting someone previously being there who has now gone. This image didn’t work as well as I had hoped as the snow really wasn’t thick enough but I did make a quick couple of edits to try and enhance this. I experimented with the levels a little to draw out the footprint more but still keep it soft rather than completely losing some detail, as well as using a cooling filter at 15% to add a bit of colour as I initially thought it was quite lacking and it also added to the coldness of the image. I could potentially pair this image with the one of the glove but this might reiterate something David Rule had already picked up on of repetition in the images.

Final20

I took this photo knowing I wanted it to be powerful, strong and become my final image in my book. I knew for the location I wanted to have stunning views far into the distance and this has also provided some delightful colours which all contribute to the positivity of the image. Here, I am holding on to a bunch of balloons with the mask tied to the end. The balloons represent letting go and as I am holding them out, it suggests letting go of my anxiety particularly with the mask on the end suggesting trying to get my life and personality back. I had considered trying to take the picture after I had let go of them, but I thought it best for me to still be holding them as it represents trying to let go but the anxiety still sticking with me. As this goes at the end of my book, it represents where I am now in life as my anxiety has improved but still not gone away.

Final21This image is quite similar to my others of flowers but they all unite together to represent feelings of hope and new life. I particularly like the composition of this one as I used a macro lens which has delicately detail all individual parts of the daisy including each little petal. Again I think this allows the viewer to see something they often recognise through a different perspective both through composition and representation. The macro lens has also eliminated the problem of distracting detail around the edges by focusing directly onto the daisy which means the background doesn’t detract away from it but still provides an interesting contrast of the dark green background to make the daisy stand out more.

Final22

This is another one of my favourites because the composition is quite simple but the concept is quite powerful. This image is quite symbolic in the same way as the image with the balloons as the pieces of the dandelion slowly blowing away in the distance represents the anxiety slowly disappearing. There is a slight blurriness to the centre of the dandelion but this adds to the gentle movement shown in the image. The wide aperture also works really well here as it draws the eye right into the centre where the dandelion has been framed and defined neatly whereas the background is out of focus but you can still see the small segments floating away delicately. This image could work really well with the balloons or even on it’s own to avoid the repetition but both still conveying a strong message both through self portraiture and still life.

Final23

This is another image I picked out to fit the continuous theme of trees but I think this is stronger than the previous one with the autumnal leaves. The green leaves are bright and fresh, bursting with positivity and good vibes. This is completely different to the image at the beginning with the bare, dark branches which is why I think it will work really well including it so I can have the same landscape but one positive and one negative, suitable for each side of my book. I took this image from underneath the tree looking directly up which I think creates an interesting perspective as the branches don’t seem connected to the ground, more free and widespread. The image is overall very bright with the sun shining through the small gaps which again enhances the overall mood of the photo.

Final24

Even though I already have one definite image of the dandelion to include, I also wanted to consider whether it would be worth using this. The macro lens has really highlighted the interesting shape of each individual segment of the dandelion with lots of small, thin lines spread throughout. Together it creates a really intriguing pattern and sense of unity. Although this image works aesthetically, I have the same problem with not being able to pick out representation of emotion therefore it will probably not be used in my final selection.

Final25

Although this is quite similar to the other flower images, this one is actually my favourite as it is a little different. It feels fresh and bold, the beautiful pink colour is vibrant but gentle which enhances the flowers delicacy. The macro lens has defined the small raindrops on the petals which enhances that fresh feeling. However what really stands out for me is the strong pink colour contrasting to the dark background. It represents hope emerging out of darkness and could also work really well in the sequence of my book by placing it at the beginning of the ‘positives’ as it shows things initially getting better but still feeling like I am in a dark place.

Final26

A bleeding heart plant is one of my favourites in the garden, simply because it is so emotive in itself. I am always mesmerised about the delicate little shape which forms the recognisable shape of a heart. They are also rich with my favourite colour and instantly identify colours of love and relationships. This is why I want to include it in my final selection with one particular image which features my family as the pairing will compliment each other to represent how the love from my family has helped my anxiety improve massively.

Final27

I thought of the idea for this image when Caroline encouraged me to have more images which make the viewer feel my anxiety therefore I kept the composition of this simple to show feelings of frustration and fear. Again it is a coping mechanism to help distract my mind from an anxiety attack, trying to focus on different feelings and senses in order to take my mind off it. I actually found this picture was more dramatic in black and white with my skin contrasting really well to the knees and although the dark background makes it hard to define the difference between the two, I actually think this works quite well in enhancing the concentration on the hands digging into my knees.

Final28

Although this image is quite similar to the one of nails digging into my skin and the nails digging into my knees, I think this is possibly the most powerful in terms of raw emotion. I think it has the potential to make the viewer a bit uncomfortable but it shows the harshness and extremes of trying to distract myself from engulfing anxiety. I decided to edit this image to enhance it aesthetically, firstly by decreasing the saturation as I felt my skin looked too bright and colourful for the message I was trying to portray. Secondly, I experimented with selective colour and increased black to + 25% as I felt this brought out the redness of the scratches best without de-colourising the whole image. I have adapted the technique from the still life genre here of keeping the background plain without distracting detail to focus the concentration on the scratches.

Final29crop

I was a bit apprehensive of creating this image because I didn’t know whether it was too cheesy or typical. However, it works well with another image I am including of me crying as it works with the eye but represents a fresh vision. Inside the eye, I have edited in a photo of my family who have been one of the coping mechanisms for helping my anxiety improve. This makes the image very personal and also relatable for the viewer. I decided to keep it as a close crop to try and focus as much on just the eye as possible where the image of my family is placed.

Final30

This is the other image which will create a parallel to the previous as it works with the eye and is personal and relatable. Crying is another coping mechanism used to help distract me from my anxiety when it is becoming so overwhelming and I look for any escape. I decided to have the image in black and white as there are some brilliantly strong contrasts in the image created from a dark background and also the artificial light coming in from the right casting shadows onto the left side of my face. Although the image is dark with strong feelings of sadness and not being able to cope, the textures are soft and represent this feeling of fragile, similar to the state I feel when I hit this point.

Final31

This was another image I felt quite apprehensive about because I didn’t want to just take an image of a pen and paper as it isn’t particularly experimental or emotive. Instead, I tried to work with including a text layer over the top on photoshop with an extract from my journal I have kept whilst coping with my anxiety. I spread the text over the edge of the frames to suggest its continuation beyond the crop but also centralising key words such as ‘humiliation’, ’embarrassment’, ‘panic’ and ‘start living again’. I particularly picked this font to give it a handwriting feel but didn’t want to make it too cliche. I don’t think this is my strongest image but it is important to include as it enhances the positive side of my book and the different things which helped my anxiety improve.

Final32

Another aspect which helped my anxiety improve is music which is why I decided to use this simple composition to highlight that. I used a wide aperture to focus on the headphone as I did not need to include any other particular detail to help convey this message. I used to listen to one particular extract of music to help calm me, even when I used to walk to school because some days even that was too overwhelming. It included relaxing sounds of trickling water which is why I decided to pair it with the next image. Knowing it would be going next to this, I decided to use a warming filter to enhance the image with warmer tones and add to the positivity through colour.

Final33

I didn’t think this image would have been included in my finals but after thinking about how music helped me and remembering the specific piece of music I used to listen to, I thought it would be apt to include this to represent those relaxing sounds of trickling water which helped calm me alongside the image of the headphones so the viewer can make the connection. The overall green colour is very dominant here but works well in making the little droplet stand out. The macro lens has also highlighted this well and blurring the edges of the image, drawing the eye right to the centre. This made me think of the image I picked out by Sian Bonnell from ‘Ordinary Magic’ as she used a similar composition to draw the eye to small piece of detail in the centre.

FrontCover

Finally, I shot this image to feature as the front cover of my book because I feel strongest about how anxiety has made me feel like I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be normal. It made me too afraid to do anything, hence taking away my personality and my confidence. It may be theatrical but I also think it best represents hiding my identity and will introduce how anxiety has affected my life appropriately.

Now I have my complete selection of finals, I am able to move forward from the feedback from Emma Lambert and create my final sequence for my book, especially with the potential pairings I have identified.

 
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We are photographers living with or affected by mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time. Join our community, submit today!

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