“MINDWOOD”, is my most recent project, I had the idea of approaching the fear of the woods at night.
For some people, forests are fearful places that can seem even scarier at night-time. The excessive, often irrational fear of forests at night or dark wooded areas is referred to as Nyctohylophobia. The word originates from ‘Nycto’ which is Greek for the night, and ‘Hylo’ which is Greek for forests. Together these words are combined with Phobos which is the Greek word for dread or deep aversion.
This concept of fear and isolation can be alleviated by using light and colour. The methodology used here is an attempt to push to boundaries of accepted photographic landscape practice and to step outside the cliché and the common postcard imagery.
The aim was to create strange, surreal, dreamlike images, that one could describe as mindscapes. The locations were selected during the day, they were quiet, secluded locations in Darwen, chosen specifically, for the lack of nocturnal light and general activity.
Each wooded area was approached in complete darkness and the images were created using a Nikon Z6 camera with one lens, several LED panels and coloured gels.
All images were shot handheld, using various slow shutter speeds and camera movement to create blurring in the images. A journey through the woods was created that begins eerie and dark, gradually becoming more strange, surreal and mysterious, all signs of fear are alleviated, using only light and colour, revealing a landscape that was totally concealed.
The project was inspired by “Sharpe’s Wood”, a body of work created by Liza Dracup. She creates a series of images in Sharpe’s Wood at night, she makes use of the available nocturnal light to create her images. “Fata Morgana” the landscape work of Nan Goldin also influences this project. Goldin’s images are blurred, unfocused and it appears that she pays little consideration to the composition of the images, techniques that have been applied to the creation of these images.
Inspiration also came in the form of paintings. The bold use of colour and subject in the paintings of Piet Mondrian, Leonid Afremov and Andre Deran, informed the use of colour. The swirling forms in the work of Georgia O’Keefe and Vincent Van-Gogh, informed the techniques used to create this body of work.
INFINITE REASONS. – 2020.
I had the idea of approaching the subject of suicide from an awareness point of view, rather than looking directly at the act itself. I did not want the images to be cliche or too obvious, so I started to research groups for suicide awareness, looking for a way to approach the subject, and I came across two symbols that are used to represent suicide survival and awareness. One was the semi-colon, and the other infinity-colon. I chose to make the infinity-colon symbol out of things that people use when they decide to end their life and place them in locations the people would go to. The symbol represents survival; your story is NEVER over! Keep Fighting, Breathing, Living, Loving. It is used for supporting people dealing with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and other forms of mental illness. A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended but chose not to. That author is you, and the sentence is your life. It is a simple sign of hope and continuation, an affirmation that we have the power to move forward. The title of my work is Infinite Reasons. I chose the title because of the symbol I used and the fact that, as well as there being infinite reasons that someone chooses to end their life, there are infinite reasons they can choose to carry on.
“It does not matter how long it takes you to get there, the important thing is, you can say, “I’m still here.” I could have chosen to end my sentence; but instead, I chose to carry on.” (Morris Jones 2020).