Firstly, I would like to thank you all for the fantastic support you have offered after my last post asking for photographic models. I received messages from people offering support, willing to have their photo taken or those wishing to fill in a questionnaire. I couldn’t have expected a better response and I hope I come across as genuine when I explain how grateful I am. That gratitude is also extended to all the moderators who kindly left my posts up for people to read. Thank you.
Your support on my last project has inspired me to push my creativity further and extend the self-harm project that I began over two years ago.
This time I am hoping other people might be willing to get involved as I am opening the 'requirements' up to include many more heath issues.
Although I have not yet written my Artist statement, I am hoping to make the most of my 4/5-month holiday by getting a head start on next term’s project.
The project I worked on for my first year of my BA(Hons) Photography, at Anglia Ruskin University, was surrounding the subject Self Injury/Harm. My initial plan was to put together a book of shots of young men and women who use self-harm. I had always planned to put these, headless, images in a book. However after much deliberation I decided to hand in a miniature version of the images, kept in a box for presentation and to save the book idea for my second year.
I now have another 8 or 9 months to put together a comprehensive collection of images that not only cover the issue of self harm, but also bring in other issues that may trigger self harm or are produced as a secondary to self harm (although I realize this is very different for everyone). I intend to create images that contain men and women, of all ages, colour or sexuality, who have had or who currently are experiencing issues with, self harm, anorexia/bulimia/EDNOS, depression, binge eating, disassociation, sexual abuse/rape survivors, participation in S&M, transgender/ transexuality, scaring from incidence etc. Essentially I am hoping to capture many aspects of mental health with a specific look at how mental health affects you physically and how you feel about your body.
As part of this work, I would like to follow 3 or 4 people through treatment. This could be in-patient or out patient, mental health related treatment or physical health. For ease, it would be great if the participating people lived near Cambridge or around the south of the country, however, I would be willing to travel if needed.
The idea of lots of people modeling once, representing their own lives and stories, means I can share very small insights into a mind set or situations. However, by having the chance to follow 3 or 4 (or more if possible) people through one part of their lives, documenting the details of their stories, I have the opportunity to show people a much deeper look into life with impairments.
I hope that the work is tasteful, that it never glorifies SI or any other issues that may be raised, yet at the same time offer people who don’t understand a chance to see how it affects people. That is where your help comes in!
I may be able to explain my own relationship with self-harm and mental/physical health, I may even be able to give statistics, but unless many people get to share their stories.. We can’t expect people to just get it.
Just like last time, I am looking for people from anywhere in the UK,
any age (as long as your over 16 with parental consent or over 18), and either sex. I would be willing to help out with travel costs to my home and you would be more than welcome to stay at my house with a friend of yours.
This time the compassion of the images will be slightly different, but you will always have the last word on what you are happy to do.
The models I have used so far are my close friends, people who I love and would always want to protect, as well as the wonderful people who nominated them selves. I would never exploit anyone and I will include text in the book that describes just how grateful I am for the models co-operation. All models will need to sign a model release form.
I am telling you all about the book and my hopes for the future as I would like to ask if anyone would want to take part? I want to show all aspects of self-harm and mental health issues, not just scars or tears or meds. There is so much more to it. The smiles you have to put on for those around you, the depression you feel, the guilt, the eating distress, the arguments with loved ones, I want to try and communicate that too.
I am hoping to get moving as soon as possible, so if you have some free time over the summer and fancy a trip to Cambridge, please e-mail and we can work something out!
Feel free to contact me, Indigo.Clouds.Imagery[@]Gmail[.]com