Concept In Photography? Not In This Example!!!

Brief:- You may think conceptual art has to be motivated by a cerebral idea, but often it’s not. It’s more to do with hunches and entering a process where you don’t really know what the outcome will be and you take photographs that attempt to document that process. For example, what would it be like to spend a week living on a boat? What would it be like to dress differently and out of character? Such ‘ideas’ are not necessarily ‘visual’ but the clearly have visual potential. They also bring up notions that you may not have thought about when approaching a photographic project: what ‘home’ and ‘appearances’ mean.

Maria Kapejeva, One Month. Maria Kapejeva’s diptych above shows two portraits of the same person; the first was taken on the subjects arrival in India, and the second was taken a month later. What do these say about the country’s influence on this young man? Maria Kapejeva based her work on a concept about change over time. The young man appears to have been influenced by his time in india – as if he has matured. It’s very subtle, but you register the change in his clothes, facial expression and posture.

Umm – bollocks. Such a weak example of concept in photography. He may have travelled with those clothes, we all sit differently many times each day, and a suntan alters the appearance of our skin. Yes he may have been influenced by his time in India, in fact it is highly probable that he has, but this diptych is a very poor way of highlighting any possible influences. To infer that it does is misguided. I’m feeling let down by this shoddy example.

 

A Surprise In The Mirror – Anorexia Recovery And A Huge Step Forward

My journal entry for December the first, 2018

Today I looked myself in the eye, I paused and looked at my face, and I looked well.

Breathe – I look well.

This was a very special experience for me. When my eating disorder ruled my life I loved feeling my bones. Rightly or wrongly I got joy from doing so, it was as if I was touching my essence. But to do so I was killing me, harming me, putting my life at risk of serious injury, illness and death. I wasn’t in denial. I knew that I was doing so, and I didn’t care.

Today I had a sober day in my eating practice. I had three meals and three snacks. Other than the occasional over-eating I have followed my meal plan for three months now.

And today, I looked myself in the eye and I looked well. I CAN lovingly nurture my body and look and feel well – even if I’m not happy with my weight gain.

This morning I dropped off my 30 inch waist jeans at a charity collection point. I would love to keep them. I still want to fit into them again, but not as much as I want photography, travel and study. I cannot keep one foot in anorexia and one in recovery. I am not willing to let go of my passion, photography is of more value to me than chasing the impossible, unobtainable anorexic goal post of the ever decreasing number.

Making My Kitchen More Condusive To Having A Healthy Relationship With Food

As well as getting rid of the foods I had hoarded, I have been cleaning my kitchen. On Tuesday I cleaned my cooker.

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Then yesterday I cleared out and cleaned the fridge and freezer. I hadn’t done so for over a year.

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Today I have cleared and cleaned the surfaces, draws and all crockery and utensils. Everything now has a place.

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Tomorrow I will be cleaning the floor and hoovering the rest of the house. Despite living in it, I cannot believe what a shit tip I had left the kitchen in.

I have a very poor relationship with food, and I know that in order to recover my eating will change over the next few months. That’s going to be a whole lot easier to reinforce if my kitchen promotes a positive attitude towards food. I’m also going to wash my cup and plates up each time that I use them.

Need To Write – Feeling Vulnerable – Change

I feel an urgent need to write. It’s a bit of a weird thing have a compulsion to write, but it’s better than s compulsion to starve or binge. Although I’ll keep it short or it will just be an aimless ramble.

Letting go of the controlling anorexic behaviour, working with my team, accepting I’m sick, and actually wanting to recover – it’s a big internal shift for me. It’s left me feeling quite vulnerable and unsettled. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really positive and I have genuine hope. But I feel vulnerable.

I was with a friend and was due to be away for a few more days, but I had to come back to my safe space. I needed the routine and familiarity and my own routine. It wasn’t easy to say to my friend, but a strong and positive thing to know what I need and to be able to do.

I even dusted this morning.

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All is ok with the plan, I’ve stuck to it so far, and I’m not obsessing about food, starving or binging, which is nice. I’m actually looking forward to getting my calories up to a normal and healthy level. It will be a gradual process, but with larger increases than before.

Fragments

I’m still keeping up with photography and coursework, although I’ve needed to back off a little. I’ve just developed a series of photos for coursework, and I’m just considering how to blend them into the montage as required.

Wishing you a fab weekend.

Fragments

Fragments

My Eating Disorder Today – New Plan/Old Plan

My physical health, emotions and eating have been chaotic since my health deteriorated in London. I had to return home early from London, my health got worse and had a couple of days where I couldn’t walk, binged for 8 days and ended up in A and E because of concerns about re-feeding syndrome, and then three days of not eating.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.

I’ve reached out to a peer support eating disorder recovery group, and logged in online every day. Seeing people who are in recovery has given me so much hope. Change is very scary but hope and goals help.

Goals

  • Stay out of hospital
  • Keep enjoying photography
  • Complete my studies
  • Travel to India next April

These are all very important to me, and if I don’t change then none of them will be achievable, so these remain my focus.

When I was in an inpatient eating disorders unit a couple of years ago they had a meal plan of three meals a day and three snacks a day. It worked for me while I was in there, and for a few months afterwards.

My psychiatrist and I have decided it’s time to put this in place again now. It maintains blood sugar, because I know what I’m eating and when it makes it easier to avoid either binging or restricting. Binging is really common when food is increased after long periods of restricting. The brain sends out all kinds of chemicals to try to restore nutrition, so knowing where the next meal is coming from helps psychologically to avoid binging.

We’ve also increased my calories by 25%. It’s scary, a big leap, but I’m still way under what I need to maintain weight or build nutrition. If I want to stay out of hospital then I need this increase, and the next, and the next.

This is all so easy to say, and so scary put into practice. Today I’m going to follow the plan. I don’t know if I will tomorrow or the next day, because all any of us can live in is today. If I succeed today, then I have a better chance tomorrow.

I have developed some close and supportive friendship with my fellow OCA students, and other WordPress bloggers. I really appreciate your kindness and support. Thankyou.

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It’s All About Me When It Comes To My Emotions – Responding Not Reacting

It’s been a challenging week for me on many levels’. I felt hurt and frustrated by a friend’s behaviour and, have had a professional organisation failed to keep their commitment, and two professionals involved in my care are leaving their posts.

I find it very difficult to be authentic and express my emotions in response to somebody’s behaviour. However, I had to say something this week so that O could remain true to myself and protect my self esteem. My friend’s behaviour isn’t the issue, it’s my feelings that I need to focus on. It doesn’t matter how you behave, that’s your choice and your right, so if I feel upset or hurt in response to your behaviour that’s my responsibility. My telling you how I feel doesn’t mean that you have to change your behaviour. As your behaviour is your responsibility you can choose whether to act differently, or continue to behave as you are. This means that you can remain true to yourself.

Self-portrait in which I photographed myself as a reflection in a mirror.
(Please click on photo for a full size image) I am slowly becoming comfortable with displaying self portraits, but I still need to cover my face.

So this week I took responsibility for my emotions and spoke to my friend about how I was feeling with regards to our friendship. I did this in a manner that owned my feelings and didn’t blame her for my emotional reaction. In order to do this I needed to give myself a couple of days to allow my emotions to calm down and so that I could prepare what I wanted to say without it being an attack on her. It would have been so easy to react but that would have been damaging to both her and myself (There have been recent news stories about students trying to get their lecturers sacked because they have differences of opinion. This behaviour is completely inappropriate because it apportions blame rather than taking responsibility for your thoughts and feelings, it’s also very arrogant and self righteous).

With a professional organisation letting me down my approach is firmer, more descriptive and without emotional content. They have provided me with some software called Dragon Nuance, which is voice to text software, and am using this to write this blog today. They are currently training me how to use and make the most of this technique. I had an appointment with them which they failed to keep. I’m very pleased that in both instances I have been able to respond, to take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings without resorting to criticism or blaming them for how I feel.

(Please click on photo for a larger image) Macro photography is my mindfulness. It is something that I enjoy immensely and it also calms me down.

My eating disorder therapist has been off work for several months,. We had an appointment this week, during which she informed me that she is changing role in two weeks and I won’t have a therapist until the new person is in post. On top of this, the junior psychiatrist that I have been working with whilst my therapist has been off sick, is moving onto a new rotation in two weeks and I’ll have to get used to a new doctor. My care coordinator is also changing. I feel quite vulnerable with having these three changes at the same time.

Acceptance is the answer, and the only way of responding to these changes I don’t like and that I feel unsafe with. So my response is to allow my vulnerability to be as it is, and to discuss this with my friends as often as I need to.

By Thursday afternoon my thoughts were along the lines of “what else is going to go wrong today?”. So I wrote a gratitude list and made a note of all the things that had happened during the day which I felt grateful for, I spoke with a friend, and my mood and thoughts improved. Making some macro photography also helped to keep me focused straight after my psychiatric appointment.

(Please click on the photo for a full size image) Macro photography is my mindfulness. It is something that I enjoy enormously, and it also calms me down.

Who Am I? Who Are You? Society, Change, The Pain Of Ownership, The Journey From Me To We, Who Are We.

The beginning of my personal enquiry seems a little strange, but my thoughts were in response to a discussion on another blog.

Who Are We?

I agree. One positive change is beginning to happen with children being taught mindfulness in schools. It’s already creating communication, acceptance, tolerance, and the ability to look within. I like the idea of the shamanic talking stick. You can only speak when you have the stick. You hold the stick and state whatever you need to discuss and then pass the stick over. The person who is now holding the stick then has to say “this is what I heard you say…..and I think you mean this….” The stick gets passed back and you  respond to the other person. You agree with what tbe person heard and then explain what the second person didn’t hear or understand. This process is re6peated until you have been heard. The second person then holds the stick and they can then discuss whats bothering them, and repeat the process. Honest dialogue, honest speak, honest watching and honest listening. Honest listening is really hearing what has been said without mentally preparing to add your perspective, and without planning a response.  Honest watching is discussed by CE HALL in her essay Woman: The Mystery Decoded.

The bigger picture

I’m going to get political now – with the big P (government) the issue is that they can’t and don’t look at the big picture. They tackle single issues, crime, housing, tobacco, gambling, mental health, teen pregnancy etc. They do this because their aim is to get re-elected. They seek power not change.If they tackle the big picture and see that there is something wrong with the whole system, then they have to work from the ground up. Why does the UK have so much debt, a higher proportion of people in prison than other European countries. The biggest ratio of teenage pregnancies, food banks, an increase in betting shops; etc etc. To tackle the big picture is a long term process, and no government will dare to undertake this because the change is a slow and will take many years. This brings the risk of not being elected again. With governments of any kind – labour; conservative, Republican, Democrat. They are all the same. They all seek power and re-election rather than creating a cohesive and open society.
The small p is the politics of individuals and ownership. This is MY house, MY football team, MY religion, MY wife. My country. When we focus on me and ownership we create a polemic system where I am right and you are wrong. Suffering comes from ownership. It’s painful to defend a position that we find security in, so we then become defensive on the inside and create violence on the outside, and not necessarily physical violence.

Change can only come from individuals who enquire about who they are, and who others are. We let go of MY and understand WE. We look into our shame about who we are. We enter into our shadow and face it, and realise that shame is a myth, a social construct to create systemic control and obedience. When we see this we are free, we forgive ourselves and see that others act from shame, we understand their behaviour. Just because we understand their behaviour does not mean that we accept it. We set boundaries.  We can now see the bigger picture of WE. Shame is not personal, it is universal. We let go of the personal shame. No longer driven by our shadow, we are free to choose how we want to live. Free to set our boundaries, we now have choice because we are living from the bigger picture. This personal enquiry is happening with individuals around the world. If this change continues to develop, then change will happen from the grass roots upwards; and not from governments.

The realisation is I’m not who I think I am. The definitions and labels that I have received from myself and others, my defensive, restrictive belief system; my memories, my goals. These have all been possessive and restrictive. I thought I had choice, but when I started to explore these belief systems I realise how false and limiting they are. I am not my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, memories, ideologies, I am not my circumstances, I am not my personality (it’s just a restrictive perception).If am able to observe these things with an open mind, I realise that I cannot be what I observe. Everything that I think I am is impermanent. Even the cells in my body and the neurons in my brain change and die. There is a part of me, a “self” that has witnessed everything. It’s always been there. Here’s an analogy to explain this. I am the white board. You write on me and I remain as the white board. You rub out the writing and write something else, I remain as the white board . Another analogy. I am a tv screen. A documentary is played on the TV. I remain as the screen. You turn the TV off and the screen remains. You play a film. A tragic romance comes on. There is love and friendship and hope and dreams. The main character dies and there is grief, guilt and anger. All of these events and ideas happen on the screen. But they are not the screen. The screen is “self” who I am.

What remains needs meditation, contemplation, writing a journal, examining our beliefs and reactions. We question who or what am I beyond awareness. We realise that we are all “self” we are all the neutral observer. There is no separation from me and you. There is no MY.

The journey to discovery, to seeking the truth about who I am is a courageous path. To let go of false security and belief systems, to stand in presence, in this moment, with nothing to cling hold of, no false comfort blanket; We remain aware. The aware observer is following the warriors journey.

I now live with the knowledge that “we are”. Everything is ours. I am now free to share what is ours, rather than cling to what is mine. I have started “pay it forward friday” I go to the bakery and buy a pie. I pay with a  5 Pound note and ask the cashier to use the change to pay for whoever she serves next. I give 2 pound to a woman who sells the big issue, and 2 pound to a charity. It reaffirms that it’s our money, our connection; our pain and struggles, our hopes. “We are”. I am seeking the answer to who we really are beyond the veil of deception.

I am one of those people who have started to seek truth because of a crisis, because of the pain of breaking my boundaries, of doing “wrong”. The collapse of personal identity, the shame, the fear and grief, cracked my identity and personality wide open. Many people begin to seek answers to who they really are because of a total breakdown of the personality. There are more that seek because instinctively they feel that something is missing. Change is happening. We may not see the results in the near future, but as more people realise they are not who they think they are, more change begins.

The question remains – who am I?

Reference

Hall, CE; 2017; Women: The Mystery Decoded; Online at https://cehallweb.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/women-the-mystery-decoded/ (accessed on 30th September 2017)