At the beginning of 2017 one of my lovely models sent me a message asking If I would work on something personal with her.
Beth is someone Iv worked with a few times and Iv got to know quite well,Beth is creative, hard working and lovely, but there is something about Beth that I wouldn’t have known had she not told me.
Beth has an Invisible illness,Im not going into detail about this as Beth has done her own awareness post regarding this,I will leave the link for that at the bottom of this post.
Beth wanted us to work on a shoot together to portray her pain and struggles that she has internally in an external way for all to see, and she wanted them to go with her very honest and heart felt awareness post,in the hope that it may help people understand how people with an invisible illness can be feeling and just because you can’t see it does not mean it is not there.
Having suffered with depression and anxiety I felt that I had some understanding into the whole stigma involved when it comes to an invisible illness and felt that the pictures we would produce had to be not only special but something that people can connect with.
So how could I interpret this,I knew the pictures needed to show pain, struggle and Isolation but it needed to be done in a beautiful thoughtful way.It had to be feminine and not too dark.
So a bold colour had to be used and red is very symbolic of passion love but also of blood and pain.Then I thought to keep it feminine and pretty that flowers had to be included and not just any flower,Its all about showing the story and poppies to me are beautiful but also show pain and strength and thats something that normally would be quite hard to do.
It needed to include a way of showing things that others wouldn’t normally see even if it was visible,like when things get so bad its normally behind closed doors, for example in Beths case when her pain is at such a high level she is sometimes confined not only to a wheel chair but unable to leave the house.You will find in most cases regardless of the condition, when its bad its only those closest to us that see the effects it has on that person and their lives in general.
Finally It had to show Isolation, but instead of just showing that I felt it was important to show strength.In this last Image yes she is alone but she is standing tall and ready for what her day holds for her.
Although the pictures had been pre-conceptualized and planned to the finest detail the shoot was quite quick even rushed and chaotic, we waited until a poppy field was found and thankfully could both fit a shoot in, the dress had been hanging up ready for sometime and all that was needed was my beautiful red head.
I new the day was going to stir up emotions and was ready for that but have to say we did nothing but laugh the whole time.As we arrived to the location the sun was out but a fair few lovely clouds were also out, I love clouds as they are our finest soft boxes to use for defused light.
Behind the scenes
We started with the most complex picture and spent a while wrapping ivy round Beth,as the growth of wild flowers were a lot higher than first thought Beth stood on a stool and this is where the giggles started,Beth came off quite dramatically! thankfully unharmed (to my relief as I had already laughed very loudly)captured below.
After this we just didn’t stop laughing over silly things happening, like curious dogs and humans come to think of it, trying to see what we were up to.
We got all 3 Images done and just had time for one more when the heavens opened,We packed up the gear franticly and had to run from the field to the car,ofcourse by the time we got to the car it had stopped but we both looked like drowned rats by then.
As serious and as heart felt these pictures are im glad to say this was a good day and happy memories doing what we love with a purpose.
To create pictures that explain someone else’s pain is not an easy task,but this is not just about one person this is about all of us, learning, teaching and caring, this is about understanding that what you see on the outside doesn’t always reflect what is on the inside.
For those that suffer in silence …..speak out, ask for help if you need it.Be brave you are not alone.You can find beauty in darkness if you look hard enough <3
To read Beths story in her own words click HERE
What would you pain look like ?? you are welcome to comment below xxx