A few months ago, while lying in bed on a Saturday morning, I felt a growing migraine attack coming on. Migraines are new to me, so I was surprised to sense tingling spreading across my limbs. I suddenly felt something pop in my head and pulse through me. Right then, paralysis came over me like a wave. I couldn’t move, couldn’t open my eyes, couldn’t call for help.

My mind was fully on, but my body was no longer responding to its commands. I was locked-in. It only lasted a short while, but it was the most terrifying event of my life. In an attempt to exorcise my angst, I decided to explore the emotions I felt during this episode through my photography.

Reflecting on having been “locked-in,” I was fascinated by the idea that I had felt very much in motion in my brain while being totally paralyzed physically. I set out to highlight those two opposite states of being by combining multiple exposures digitally. The use of long exposure times, in particular, allowed me to convey movement, depicting the agitation of my spirit.

Meanwhile, I believe digital impressions alone would have been too crisp for the subject matter. So, I chose to hand-print the series as Van Dyke Browns. This antique alternative process gave the final prints a certain softness that I felt was a fitting portrayal of my experience.

The series, as a whole, acts as an allegory for the complex and obscure link between our body and our mind. This is a connection we rarely take the time to deeply contemplate—except on the days when it stops working altogether.

—Anne-Laure Autin