Statement of Intent
When Hannah Left Home
“Stress energy travels inwards, and needs to come out”. J.H. Psychotherapist
Making these images has helped me to positively re-evaluate the trauma of ending my teaching career due to stress. My final day, walking through the building where I had loved working, was overwhelmingly sad. Memories of the silence, loneliness, and emptiness still remain.
A few years later, I enjoyed working at Hannahs - a charity for disadvantaged young people. It was positive and full of high spirits: but the buildings were closed and sold. I felt compelled to photograph it soon after. I worked respectfully, often in semi-darkness, as if in mourning. Hannah (and her iconic ducks) had left home: the tap was turned off and her spirit gone.
Counselling had attempted to uncover my stress, like opening the layers of an onion, but I found it difficult to verbalise my feelings. While exploring Hannahs I realised that the images I was making were revealing those layers. Each successive, deeper, layer - corridors, rooms, offices, games, artefacts and personal belongings - seemed to mirror my emotions. My panel arrangement represents that “onion”. From the outer edges to the centre my troubles become more profound.
Surprisingly, Hannah’s sad departure helped to heal my trauma. Using photography to convey my anxieties through visual metaphors has encouraged me to work mindfully, valuing every moment, and to use silence and time positively. I now appreciate that the process of photographing, and later releasing inner stress while editing and creating intimate prints, can be more therapeutic than using words.