The story of my diagnosis seemed to be the most pertinent subject especially as it followed on naturally from Uncertainty in Beyond Photography. The disease has been fundamental in my life at the moment and therefore created the ultimate inspiration.
The unit was an emotional journey for me to relive the time, reflect and rethink the passage of time, the events were unfolding during the time and I constantly needed to rewrite, re-edit and change focus, sometimes this happened on a daily basis.
I spent a great deal of time reading a vast quantity of books: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, H. Porter Abbott. Was wonderfully insightful, similarly Media, Culture and Society by Paul Hodkinson, was a very structured and covered a broad perspective, Art and Text was a useful resource to help with the story construction. I found Pictures On a Page by Harold Evans and Pictures From Home by Larry Sultan gave an inspirational guide to aid the composition of my work, I rewrote the pieces several times as my style changed depending on the emotiveness of my disease process, the undulating moods and lethargy that my illness altered and subsequently transformed the style I wished to convey.
I think the subject whilst it maybe a sombre disease I have tried to show the necessity for hope and courage, I appreciate the subject may not appeal to everyone but the disease does not need consent so some insight helps to encourage knowledge, understanding and compassion.
The concept is hugely personal to me and it has been challenging to write as the events are not complete at the time of writing. I found on the Internet inspirational writers and Artist who showed their individual writing styles in equally emotive situations. Classical writers who seemed to quote emotions that I felt and I included some of my favourites in my work.
I changed styles at different stages but eventually returned to the autobiographical style as it seemed to reflect my journey in a more logical way, moreover it provided balance and pace.
The practical work was challenging due to the lack of opportunity as the illness prevented my ability to work very often in the studio, I had to experiment and use an Ad Hoc style to explore some of the subject matter but ultimately the pictures do convey the story I wish to tell.
I hope that next time to be well and have more flexibility to explore a wider range but I have learnt a great deal and improvisation has been a learning curve too. The concept was altered as originally I wanted to juxtapose the treatment plan, implementation and outcome, but the disease altered that concept and provided the journeys progress and setbacks, outcomes and penult imamate staging. I wanted to focus on Gregory Crewdson but in fact, my style emulated Corinne Day in the oscillations that the storyline underpinned. This quote by Day has a parallel with everything that inspires me; “I really believe you have to have time off to be creative, which is why I don’t have a darkroom. If I did have one, I’d spend my whole life revolving around photography, and then I wouldn’t get any inspiration to take pictures.”
I found the unit very interesting and challenging due to the emotions that were transforming my abilities however I found it therapeutic to explore and recreate the scenes.