NOT MYSELF: A Path to Transcending Trauma
It was not my intention to produce deeply personal, fine-art photography.
My concept was to create what I hoped would be poignant, photographic images that speak to the significance of life. There was no indication at the time that this goal would take me so deeply into myself.
Each of my series unfolded into an unexpected, personal memoir--disclosing information about my own life's narrative that had been buried since childhood.
A reviewer once mentioned reading that "traumas affecting young children become literally sealed-off memories in the brain; a coating surrounds those memory cells which breaks down over the course of a decade or two, when the mind that could not understand what was happening grows into a mind that can ostensibly handle trauma. When the coating completely disintegrates is when repressed memories begin banging away at the conscious mind, demanding to be reckoned with."
I have come to realize that my work is a visible treatise on emotions in response to life's challenges--a subject that still seems, although closer, just slightly out of my conscious reach.
In this self-portrait series, NOT MYSELF: A Path to Transcending Trauma, captured over an eight-year period, I symbolically document my emotions during my personal recovery in adulthood from early childhood traumas.
My esthetic is primarily influenced by the Japanese philosophy of the Wabi Sabi--qualities of “serene melancholy and spiritual longing” and “perfection in imperfection”. Like the Surrealists, I employed other-worldly distortion (super-wide angle Pinhole camera) to produce poetic, slightly-hued dramatic images (Lith printing). I purposely tore the Polaroid edges, allowed them to disintegrate or admitted “accidental” folding of those edges.
I chose to never show my face in any of the images. It is my intent that the series would serve as an allegory representing all those who endured trauma in their lives and are seeking to overcome its effects.