I had the unique opportunity to work with a local model who had a fantastic idea for a personal photography session. She has struggled with anxiety over the years and wanted a unique way to portray the different emotions and feelings that can be present in someone who is engaged in this battle. While the subject matter was serious, the shoot was not and I had a lot of fun getting to know her! All the images were shot in my house except for the field ones which were shot in a field (whaat? i know right)
It was truly a privileged to work through this shoot from start to finish - the final images speak very strongly to my heart. I can see the joy, peace and contentment as well as the journey through self doubt, feeling worthless and being surrounded by encroaching darkness to light again.
Below you will find some of Ashley's thoughts and interpretations of the images.
I hope you take the time to pause over each image as they are chosen specifically to portray an emotion. It might make you uncomfortable. That's okay. Life gets uncomfortable sometimes.
“Then Anxiety Is” by Anonymous
If love is a mothers gentle, warm embrace--
Then anxiety is being forced into a strait jacket.
If hope is a butterfly flitting from flower to flower--
Then anxiety is a nuclear bomb plummeting to earth.
If compassion is an outstretched, helping hand--
Then anxiety is a gun to the back of the head.
If peace is the rise and fall of a sleeping infant’s chest--
Then anxiety is lightning striking an airplane.
If freedom is a bird soaring high in the sky--
Then anxiety is a shackled slave thrown into the sea.
If happiness is the laughter of a friend--
Then anxiety is the howling of a dying dog.
If tolerance is children playing, blind to skin color--
Then anxiety is being prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.
If nature is the skyline from a mountaintop--
Then anxiety is the metal slab corpses rest on.
If togetherness is the soft kiss of a lover--
Then anxiety is the last living thing on the planet.
If possibility is a child gazing up at the stars,
Then anxiety is a dead rat in the sewers
If future is a woman holding her swollen, pregnant belly
Then anxiety is being nailed into a coffin
If life is the things that people do every day,
Then anxiety is living as a ghost, watching but not experiencing