This task was single-handedly the hardest thing I have chosen to put myself through for the sake of my work. If I thought photographing my Skin for #Picbod was going to be the hardest thing I would do, I am obviously entirely unaware how much of a masochist I really can be.

However, like I realised with my #Picbod project, this was such a large step for me in a fantastic way. It was actually very therapeutic to expose myself, to become so vulnerable. The support I got from doing so shattered my feelings of fear and shame. I am fully aware that this will never leave me, but I am in a position of power as an image maker, so I can use it to my advantage, to heal myself and give myself the chance to maybe help others.

At 14 I had my voice taken away from me. It has taken me 7 years to get it back. Sometimes I stutter, it’s inevitable. But now that I have taken back my voice, I will make sure I use it. Some people still don’t have their voices, it can take so long, some never get it back. For them, and for me, I can try to make sure I shout loud enough for the both of us. 


Research

Lisa Potts

For this task, I started by listening to Lisa Potts Interview regarding the machete attack she went through while working at a nursery. I thought the way she told the story gave hints to how many times she had told it to others, and had it go through her head. The addition of specific details helped paint a picture of the event, while at the same time highlighting the moments that have become permanent in her memory. Her story and the way she tells it, for me, is a reminder of how traumatic events have long lasting connotations for the victim beyond the physical. You don’t just forget it and move on, you can’t.

For my personal story, I didn’t have as long as Potts, and I wanted to create something that spoke about the span of 7 years. I thought the best way to do this while still keeping it engaging for the audience was to speak with an almost poetic structure. With that in mind, I researched ‘Word Poems’ and ‘Poetry Slams’

‘Word Poems’

These two specifically have always been so brutally inspiring to me. They speak of the issue with the force necessary for people to listen, but without losing the emotion that is inevitable with something traumatic. I didn’t have a group to speak with, and I am not a forceful person, but I wanted to incorporate the word poems that inspired me into my words. I tried to punctuate certain moments with the anger and force I felt necessary while other parts became slower and quieter. I wanted the way I said the words to be as telling as the words themselves.

How to speak/ tell a story

I refuse to speak about this with the same detachment I have in the past, merely speaking about the technical parts of the event and not how it made me feel. Because when I speak with that detachment it’s a protection from how terrifying and upsetting it is, but at the same time I feel like I am restricting people from truly understanding how it feels and why it is important. Taking that protection away from my words also made me feel like I was giving a more truthful explanation of the 7 years that would engage people and actually make them feel invested and emotional.


This is my Spoken Narrative

This is the website for Crasac (Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre) who I spoke about in my Spoken Narrative and are the reason I am at the point I am where I can talk about it so openly -> http://www.crasac.org.uk/

It does so not matter if you did not report it or how long ago it happened, they will treat you as an individual and not judge. (Keep in mind there is a long waiting list for the one of one counselling, because there is such a high demand for the service)

Also, here is a link for Victim Support, they help victims of all manners of crimes, regardless of when it happened or whether it was reported -> https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/


David Campbell’s talk on ‘Narrative Power and Responsibility’ has made me consider how the power dynamic of a photograph can drastically affect a photograph when you are focusing on something traumatic.We have spoken about how the subject always has the least power in a photograph, and with a subject like rape that can lead to something dangerous. Rape is not just about sexual gratification, it’s more so about domination, humiliation and control. If you take a photograph of a victim, you are taking control and have the power to interpret that photograph as you please. This could end up being another form of assault, taking away there voice and power over something they possibly already feel entirely powerless with.

Anthony Luvera’s assisted self portraits combat this potential issue by giving the homeless people he was photographing the power in what they photographed about their life and then, instead of taking their portraits, helped them take their own. If photographing victims of rape was a potential subject, I think the only way to do it without adding to the trauma would be to give them as much control as they wanted to take in the situation, because otherwise you are doing nothing but using them for the personal gain of your wanted photographs, which could easily turn into nothing more but another trauma for them.

http://www.luvera.com/old/

One thing that I have begun to think about more, after this task, is how can I reliably tell someone else’s story, when I have only just begun telling my own? It’s a difficult situation where I want to give myself a voice, because I can be in control of my story, but if I ask to tell someone else’s story, I am asking them to relinquish a level of control, which with something traumatic like what I have spoken about, that would be the last thing I would want to do.

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