”In the depths of every heart, there is a tomb and a dungeon, though the lights, the music, and revelry above may cause us to forget their existence, and the buried ones, or prisoners whom they hide. But sometimes, and oftenest at midnight, those dark receptacles are flung wide open. In an hour like this, when the mind has a passive sensibility, but no active strength; when the imagination is a mirror, imparting vividness to all ideas, without the power of selecting or controlling them; then pray that your griefs may slumber, and the brotherhood of remorse not break their chain.”

—Nathanial Hawthorne, “The Haunted Mind” from “Twice Told Tales”, 1851

“The Haunted Mind” is a body of work that addresses themes of duality, anxiety, and mortality.

When my mother passed away five years ago, I became consumed by depression and anxiety. These images are visual representations of the fears and anxieties that exist within myself. Multiple figures inhabit the frame to depict internal conflicts and the duality that exists within the self.

Inspiration for the series comes from literature, film noir, nightmares, and an obsession with death. The images are primarily created in wooded areas and isolated landscapes in order to visually depict the unconscious mind.

Using digital manipulation, multiple figures are montaged within each landscape to convey anxiety and duality within the self. The images are printed onto Dass transfer film and are transferred onto thin Japanese Masa paper. The transfer allows for manipulation, which can blur or distort parts of the image. This distortion from the transfer process creates an ethereal, dreamlike aesthetic that alters the sense of reality in each image. The finished pieces are one of a kind and cannot be replicated.

—Ashley Whitt