Statement of Intent
THE SHE INSIDE: Portraits of My Self
Survivors – of disease, war, abuse, loss - are often portrayed as proud scarred warriors. And we are, but this is not the everyday reality of our lives, nor does it reflect the emotional traumas we confront long after our bodies have healed.
As a survivor of four cancers I am no stranger to corporeal destruction, so my decision to reject reconstruction and stay flat after my bilateral mastectomy was, perhaps, natural.
It was other life-changing, parallel events, including the breakdown of my marriage and the death of my parents, that did more visceral damage and, as I recovered, I questioned what it means to survive when everything you once were has gone.
Survival is not something you ‘get through’, it is simply what you are until you are not. I am changed, and must come to terms with what’s left - even if I sometimes feel like a living ghost, and wonder that others can see me at all.
As a portrait photographer, I wanted to challenge how I see myself in contrast to how others perceive me, or the self I present to them; to explore identity and change, and to consider why I can make an image of myself that I recognise, yet others cannot.
Using self-portraiture was hugely challenging but it was the only truly authentic way to do this.
So here is a visual story of a She that is mine. I know intimately both her sadness and her resilience. Perhaps the true self is a fleeting ephemeral thing: perhaps there is no single self, only moments of now when we are the sum of the moments that went before.
All photographs are taken by me, alone.