I’m extremely happy to hear that my image PULSE from my Locked-in series was just awarded a Highly Commended Award from the SWPP in the June Portrait Avant Garde category!
First can I ask you this: when in your life have you been profoundly scared?
I’ll tell you mine. At 18: I choke on a peanut, unable to breathe while people around me laugh, thinking I’m joking. At 24: my car aquaplanes during a storm on a New York country road and I nearly crash into oncoming traffic. At 28: having just given birth to my first child, I run behind a security guard at 5am unable to keep up as he’s rushing our 17 hours old to the neonatal ICU. She’s in hypothermia and isn’t responsive anymore. At 31: I am in quarantine holding my second child, looking at the tubes and wires attached to her. The pediatrician tells me the oxygen supply will hopefully soon address the cerebral hypoxia caused by the bronchiolitis. He adds that RSV kills infants under 8 weeks old also in another way: their heart sometimes just stops, without a warning. My baby is 7 weeks old. Around 11pm I’m alone with her when all alarms go off – her heartbeat isn’t registering anymore. It happens 5 times that night. At 35: I slip on ice and fall on the back of my head, I feel my brain softly jiggle in my skull and all goes black. Today: I feel locked-in during migraine attacks, unable to move – my mind held prisoner, trying to escape my immobile body.
Is it surprising that all those events were related to the fear of death? After all, there are plenty of other times that we feel scared and they’re not always bad – say, a first kiss. But maybe fear is not the right word. We are nervous, anxious maybe, but we are (hopefully) not actually terrified. When you’re confronted with your mortality or that of your loved ones, you get to know terror.
I know this image looks eerie. It might even be frightening.
I’m not trying to be cheeky here – but Good indeed 🙂 . Cause I WAS frightened. I was out of my mind terrified… If you feel some kind of anguish or at least discomfort looking at it, then I will have managed in conveying something that resonates deep within me.
This, this is work in progress and I’m told you should never show work in progress and instead wait till the whole series is completed. But it is too important to me and I guess I need to share a bit of it. There is no doubt in my mind that I want to shoot this – I need to shoot this. Better yet I love to shoot this!! If you’re worried about me, please don’t be 😉 First off, this is probably the most “disturbing” photograph I’ve created so far. But mostly, I still like to see the beauty in life – who knows, maybe I’ll also do a series on Love (I’ve got some ideas…)!
Right now though, this stuff excites me and I am finally allowing myself to break free of all kinds of little mental cages I had for myself. So I do hope you love this work, despite or exactly because of its strangeness. Cause I’ll continue exploring this. I have to. Is it part of an healing process? Quite possibly. Is it an artistic release? Absolutely. It is personal? Hell yes. Is it universal? I think it is too.
I am jet lagged out of my mind but I was really excited to hear last night that I received a Highly Commended Award from the swpp in the Open Avant Garde category for this image I took about 2 months ago (in case you missed it I had posted here about joining and the awards I received then).
I love the fairy tale feeling this photograph brings up in me and I’m happy that it spoke to the judges as well!
About 6 weeks ago, I was in bed with a small migraine when I suddenly felt pins and needles moving up my arms and my tong which started to feel swollen. At the same time one of my arms became intensely warm. That was weird enough that I thought I should call for help but as I was about to, something else happened. It’s hard to describe. I felt like a wave pulsing through me from my head down to my toes and with that, I found myself completely paralysed. I couldn’t move anything anymore – I wanted to, I tried to open my eyes, move my arms, scream… I couldn’t. It didn’t last very long but long enough for it to be incredibly frightening. Tests including a brain MRI, neuro consults and what not seem to point towards a bad case of migraine accompagnée. So no biggie. I don’t worry anymore, the doctors ruled out the two seriously scary stuff they were afraid of and I’m well taken care of. We’re trying to find out the cause but I no longer am overwhelmed by bouts of irrational fear. That locked-in feeling has happened again since though, and in the moment it still scared me in ways I can’t convey.
Life is kinda back to normal. But this whole thing has left some marks on me. I need to deal with that. One way I know how is with my work. This is the first photograph I created as an attempt at doing just that. And I think it’s working…
Last week I joined another international professional association than the WPPI, the Society of Wedding and Portraits Photographers (SWPP). And I just received two Highly Commended awards in their March competition – in the Landscape and in the Fine Art & Pictorial categories. I’m especially happy with the latter one and not just because it rewards my latest work. Most images submitted there have a very painterly feel indeed, with abundant (and beautiful) digital artistry, and very few are portraits (usually female nudes). I thought I perhaps should submit this monochrome capture into another category but in the end to me it is nothing other than a Fine Art photograph – one that was created with intent and in an effort of combining aesthetics with an underlying message. So I’m really thrilled to see it Highly Commended – it must have spoken to the judges even without knowing the context and that’s a pretty cool compliment to get.