First published 12th December 2017, 4.00am GMT
I wanted these photographs on my blog. I needed to make these images, they are and were a searing realty for me, in many ways they saved my life.I had taken them over a series of years. They all adhere to a theme but I write in spontaneity so nothing is planned. Nothing rehearsed, nothing rehashed. Nothing I do is ever considered. So here is a stream of consciousness... I had been listening to a male voice which amongst others was one I return to, out of comfort. John Berger, in one video he claims that an artist in their life time only really deals with a few themes, they dabble with others but only a few remain. I had been reflecting on that recently and I had decided that now I have been working for some time I can decipher perhaps one or two of my themes over a period of time that may even adhere to miles stones I can name. Since losing my Mother in 2010 my already well formed melancholic view point had formed into something I would call a loss-of-hope, or perhaps worse still, apathy. Around this time I began to imagine myself trapped. And I aspired to the safety of it. I gravitated towards hopelessness and my work reflected that. I believe my Mother's death was a trigger to something latent. Now I have the hindsight to reflect, I call the period of my work between 2010-2015 The Apathetic Period. I have been a great many disappointments to myself but I have been unwaveringly honest in my work and thanks to this I can reflect with the same transparency on what I was experiencing. A loss of hope comes to me in the form of a repressed woman. Not self-repressed as I may or may not have been but unwillingly repressed and I have romanticised my repression as a coping mechanism. I have been for a long time now confronted with the image of a woman trapped, myself. These are self portraits. I now believe this to be political.
The first distinct memory I have of being trapped in the walls with a man was in year 5, I was 9. He wasn't a man he was also a child. We were in the same class at school when one day he showed me our school year photo in his desk and he had circled me. He was forceful and something of a trend setter. I recall he had an ice-cream-box for a pencil case and it was filled with pens. This started a trend, he had a creative flair. He was confident and introspective; I had admired but never fully trusted him. He would tell me he loved me and if I ignored him he would hold my school blouse and tell it to me, close to my face. I remember him well, he was good looking. I didn't fancy the blonde boys though. I never really did and he was blonde. I believe I have always exuded something that attracts this type of male. When the holidays came that year he calmed down, I rarely saw him. But when school started up again so did he, but over time he waned. Instead of telling me he loved me, it changed. He would laugh at me and tell me he couldn't believe that he ever felt that way. I felt crushed; he'd flirt with my friends, who liked him. One day it was dark - like today is, it must have been around this time of year because I remember the Christmas post box in the corner of our class. We were making things. He and I were the arty ones. We both felt much more at home making things. The lights were on but it was a tungsten glow, an orange glow. It had warmth you don't see so much now, now we have the efficiency of halogen. It was dark outside and we sat in a subdued warm glow inside. I could feel his presence in that room, and although he had begun to taunt me, I only remember him. Once he hated me, I could afford to love him back.This is the first time I recall being trapped in the walls of a room with a man- my year 6 classroom, and a part of me is still there. We grew up and both went to different art schools. We likely used one another as a type of template, me the object and he the regulator of that. I believe in someways this was my first destructive love relationship. And How did it manifest itself? Late 2009 to 2010 - where I had started to make openly oppressed images, where women where literally bound. A reflection I now see as an inability to express myself.
2010- A sick woman resigned to her bed. 2011- Haze; a retelling of how Dolores Haze may have felt in Lolita. Here an agency sent me a girl I had no idea was 14 until the day of the shoot. The Stylist and I quickly changed our plans for the shoot and in between takes I decided to portray a 14 year old Dolores Haze as how she may have felt in Lolita. I never spoke to anyone about this but I named the shoot Haze. The model and I became friends and we meet every Christmas. I care for her very deeply. 2015 - Die by the Sword- A martyred story inspired by the women who seemed in self-imposed exile, lonely in Vilhelm Hammershoi's work. 2014 - An illustrated telling of Robert Brown's poem Porphyria's Lover, where-in a husband kills his wife out of jealousy and concludes that in death she looks happy and did not struggle whist being strangled by her own hair. He reflects after that he did well on account of God having never punished him. 2012- A portrait of Charlotte; A portrayal of Charlotte Gilman Perkin's The 'Yellow Wallpaper', largely considered the first feminist novel. This image depicts a woman repressed after Post-natal depression by being kept hostage in a room by her husband, she begins seeing other women trapped in the yellow papered walls. 2013- A room in my house. 2011 - A depiction of Boudicca's daughters before they were raped and killed. I believe this to be about sisterly love and support. I shot this with my cousin by my side. Who has largely been a little sister figure in my life for a variety of reasons.
2011 - A depiction of Virginia Woolf's poem Safe, which I had interpreted as a look at co-dependency. 2011 - A shoot depicting the women who were heavily affected by their working conditions, they later found strength in the London Match strike of 1888, this shoot was remade from accounts Annie Bessant had written.
2013- An illustration of the novel 'The Collector' where in a man captures a woman in his basement after winning the pools and holds hers hostage as a type of pet until she is neglected. She is said to have been an art student at the Slade. This is only 1 of 3 shoots I had made about this book. 2015 - Inspired by Dryer's Joan of Arc, a revolutionary woman brazenly killed by men. 2011- A women begging for life. 2012 - An ode to child actors 2012 - An exploration in shibari, which in fact I do in fact see as liberating and intimate. 2014 - A shoot titled 'Gilded Cage' which epitomised my feelings of isolation at the time, a series of women trapped in their home.
2015- shortly before I moved back to my home county Norfolk. I think perhaps this is my most autobiographical work, a fictional telling of a woman attached, distraught and terrified to leave a place she had moved to with a loved one upon realisation that the relationship was fatal for both parties. This was my actual home at the time and these images still plague me. I know this period ended that year and I survived it. Thank you to Kris for inspiring me to write a proper blog post.