The Vulnerable Landscape - Camera Obscura
Project info

It was supposed to be a very routine operation. The look on the doctors face told a very different story. When told of a diagnosis of serious illness we are thrown into a dark space full of dread - our lives are no longer the same. We become separated from the people we were before and normal life seems an impossible state that we feel we will never experience again. The close relationship with my own mortality led to a descent into terror and eventual return to a new sense of joy.

In June 2015 another round of life giving chemotherapy began and I was determined to document my daily frame of mind for the first month of treatment. And so 28 days of the physical and emotional ordeal of chemotherapy including illness, nausea, headaches and tiredness provided the backdrop for long exposure self-portraits taken in my bedroom which was set up as a large room size Camera Obscura.

I use a traditional form of ‘Camera Obscura' (literally a dark room or chamber) using a small, round aperture ("pinhole") to bring light into the darkened space of my bedroom for capture by another camera. The photographs are all created in the camera and taken in a single long exposure triggered by a timer and show the inverted image of the outside world and a portrayal of my inner landscape.

Projected on the screen is the outside world; a world of normality that I long to return to. I am unable to bridge the gap between a life of planning for the future, frivolity and triviality and a life that contemplates dashed plans, pain and impending mortality. Life becomes a quest to live in the moment, contain the fear and aim to re-experience that wonderful feeling of a normal life.