As someone who has suffered from debilitating episodes of depression, I know full well what it feels like to be hopeless, helpless, isolated and ashamed. What I did not know was how to convey the depth of what I was feeling to caring family and friends who desperately wanted to understand what was happening to me. Words were not sufficient: I was left with no capacity to express myself.
A few years ago I tried to use my photography practice to depict depression but the results seemed performative, playing at depression rather than describing it. However more recently I revisited those images and found a way to work with them, through the alternative practice of cyanotype, that felt more evocative and genuine. Cyanotype involves hand coating paper, or cloth, with a light sensitive emulsion, laying over it plant material or digital negatives and exposing the composition to UV light. The interpretive nature of this process gave me greater latitude than making a digital print from a negative, and allowed for metaphoric compositions. The elements of handwork, in the brushstrokes of the cyanotype medium and the clumsy needlework, added an immediacy and rawness to the final pieces. These images are my testimony, and my prayer for continued good health.