Strangely this weeks activity on social media and my ultimate series of abstract images created for the purpose of seeing what creates interest, really got me thinking more abstractly and metaphorically about my work. How to best represent a journey of chronic illness that could be delivered visually in a different way to the one in which I have been working.
At the beginning of this Module, I had been keen to get a complete documentary story from an M.E sufferer, but this, as I have attempted before, just fails due to their ongoing struggle with fatigue. You can find these Unfinished Stories, both here and here. Even offering out a camera for them to take images themselves they were reluctant to do. So this led me to working on the following.
I have been keen to work with the human form and its relationship to living with chronic illness, whether that be pain or confusion or various aspects of mental health. This sort of leads me away from, what was a clear path at the beginning of the Module that i have been following for the last year, to a new approach to the project, but not from the subject itself.
So moving back into the human form itself, and continuing to work with places and landscapes my sufferers cannot get to, I start to experiment with images that can represent that long journey of suffering. With myself in mind a journey that ends with such opportunity I hope to find a way to express this.
Continuing to work in monochrome, I use convex mirrors, film, digital and pinhole, and start a new journey of explorations. Some of the images shown here are still Work in Progress, but I am delighted with where it is going.
I start with an image that incorporates my struggle with my family during this period of illness, (Series: Human form, Hands 2), a sort of reaching out to them or them to me. I brought this back into a circular frame, which allowed me to explore the foetal suggestion of vulnerability, the close links with family and boundary of not knowing how to resolve the illness as it remains undiagnosed, no treatment, no cure and breaking from what might have been the persistant umbilical cord, a time to let go. The swirls in the background representing the surrealness of the condition, a sort of floating, a fluid medium where time is undefinable.
Having completed the images above I begin to explore hands within or supporting the landscape as way to reach out and move from that period of darkness to one of hope. So the images in the set above are my starting point and the images below are moving towards and end point. Phased as if it were my journey through chronic illness.
From here, I am waiting on some film to be developed looking at a similar subject and some pinhole work, hoping to improve the atmosphere within my images, clarifying the various paths of my journey of illness, through to recovery