My regular readers already know: April and May are very tough months for me. I experience a lot of depression and PTSD flashbacks. In April, I tried to capture the zombie-like feeling that I enter in April in my personal photoshoot, and this month, I wanted to create a companion piece. May is when I start to crack, when I start to get angry, when I force myself to smile even as my inner self degrades. I took these photos in the rain, with a quote from one of my short stories to guide me:
The sky cracked open and bled onto us.
I also purposely took these photos on a friend’s birthday. Nat has been my heart-companion since we were in our teen years. We have walked through these feelings together, and we understand each other through and through. She bears an enormous burden right now, as her husband is dying of ALS that came on only two years ago and has already almost burned through him. Everyone expects her to hold strong and keep herself together as she takes care of him, herself, her parents, and her disabled younger brother. Nat is the strongest person I’ve ever known, but sometimes strength comes at a steep cost. I wanted to create these photos for her, because I wanted her to know that I see her, even if no one else seems to. I don’t expect other folks to understand this kind of gift, but our relationship is decades old and again, we know each other in all the deepest corners of our hearts.
I’ll also say that these portraits were quite nice to put together. The dress came from the thrift store, but the inner lining was an ugly beige, so Jason dyed it purple for me. I had purple-red mascara, and used artificial tears (something I have on hand for my sjögren’s) to make it run. Because the feeling I wanted to create was rather wild, chaotic, and abstract, it allowed me a lot of play in post-production editing.
My favorite thing about photography is the ability to tell a story, to create something rather than to just capture an image. Sometimes that involves a high degree of realism, and sometimes it requires a foray into a more dreamlike space. I know my style may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it, and so far the folks who have gotten photos from me have loved it. That’s good enough for me!
I understand that kind of gift. It’s from the/your heart and I’m sure your friend appreciates it or will.
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