31st October 2019
Photography is a portable method of collecting visual meanings. In this project you’ll make a visual diary of your day with ‘selfie’s’ in an attempt to document your own everyday identity and how it evolves through the day.OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg90
My mental health has been with me since a very, very early age. Being sensitive as well, when ‘Squirrel grandad’ told me I was the ugliest out of all the girls in the family, I died inside – I was about eleven years old. I was never good enough for the ‘Squirrel’ family, which we named because they use to live in a flat and we could watch the squirrels at tree height play during the day.
I was self-conscious from a child’s age and I thought I was imperfect and ugly compared to my beautiful blonde, blue eyed sister. I was a tom boy with mousy brown hair and freckles, no contest.
I hated mirrors and photographs of myself, particularly as I developed body dimorphia, where all I could think about was my imperfections, all I could see was a fat, spotty, ugly, horrible teenager.
Then as an adult after my last relationship ended due to his hands around my neck and the police being called, not only did this waste of space of a women get ripped from a lie that I had created to protect myself and to look happy to the outside world, but I was diagnosed with PTSD and dissociative identity disorder from years of repeated crap in my life.
The lie I had told myself was that I was never any good, I was ugly and useless, so ANYTHING and ANYBODY was better than nothing. I attracted and was drawn to everything that would harm me but never thought anything of it.
Having said ‘No More!’ for the first time in my life to a man whose abuse I allowed and who I loved so deeply because I now know I suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, was the turning point in my life.
At present I am participating in group therapy about abusive men’s behaviours so that I do not repeat the life long cycle I have put myself in. I am also having to attend 1:1 counselling, mental health support groups and eventually when the long waiting time is up, I will have to work with a psychologist. I have grown in strength as a survivor, so much so that I am working on exhibitions with many self-portraits to make aware how common domestic violence is and how it ruins lives.
Because of my life background, I have decided I will never be shameful of who I am or what I look like again – we all poo at the end of the day! Therefore this exercise I loved, it is about the new me – the new ‘Dawn’ as it were. I do not mind at all if you see me on the toilet, after all compared to standing in shock thinking that you were going to die any minute is the ultimate bottom line in my life, not me having a poo.
Below is the entire shoot for ‘A Day in the life.’ It has photographs beginning with ‘Insomnia,’ ‘Wake-up,’ and then goes through the day’s routine. There are multiple ones of me drying my hair and putting my eye liner on because of movement of the hair and positioning of the fingers around my eye, so I was just shooting extra for ‘artistic’ qualities for example the hair movement blurring. I only ate a packet of crisps as I also suffer from an eating disorder and I also went back to bed with my cats in the afternoon!
These were all shot on my iPad Pro due to the fact I wasn’t going to leave the house today except the night shooting for an exercise. The iPad for me takes better shots plus they will be saved ready for me to work on for exhibition if I choose to. I also mostly stayed with the portrait orientation with a few landscape shots and an accidental square shot, which I actually like.
The following grid is a smaller selection of the day put into a sequence which starts again with ‘Insomnia’ and unfortunately for me, actually ends up the same way… Hey Ho – mental health! There are quite a number of toilet shots including one where I am trying to make myself sick as I suffer from the occasional guilt from eating – I ate a big bag of crisps so I wanted rid, but I couldn’t….
I have decided to see if I can reduce the amount of photographs again to create a smaller grid. The result is below.
I actually find the smaller grid more powerful than the larger ones. I also chose a couple of different shots which were not included in the original larger grid and to be honest I prefer this last grid even though it is not a complete day in the life story but a fraction of the days stories.
I really enjoyed this shoot and could have easily taken more. I also kept thinking about the more interesting days that I have which I could have chosen to shoot, but this shows my mundane insomnia usual day, apart from the take-away movie night we had that is.