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By 20th March 20097 Comments

Black Narcissus‘Black Narcissus’ (Self portrait)

I’m sitting here staring at this photo, and I realise how much it still burns to look back at myself like this………. This time last year I had different sorrows, my mother was yet to be diagnosed, and instead I was recovering from being ill myself. I had felt so lost, so heart broken and worthless. My only therapy had been to lose myself in strangers, taking pictures of the ones I felt connected to, the ones that reflected my sadness…. each one a self portrait, just a different vessel for the soul. I had never turned the camera inwards, towards my face, my body or thoughts….. I have never been able to bear seeing my photo, and would avoid it at all costs. But something happened over the last couple of months, something changed, and I began to use myself more and more.
To begin with it was due to bad weather, lack of a model and an overactive imagination, but the more I dug, the more I began to learn about myself. I realised that I’m happiest hiding in my dreams; creating a different world where I can be whoever, and whatever I want. Where I can express how I feel, where I can be bare, raw, or dress myself up and pretend none of my ‘real life’ is happening.
This place, I have named ‘Nocturne’, it is my darkest dreaming…… the ones that reveal some of my deepest thoughts, and the others that take it all away. Just after Christmas my father became ill, and finally collapsed from a bad heart whilst alone In France, it was the final straw. What had started as dreams for some of the early shots, slowly turned into nightmares. The portrait above Is probably one of the truest, and most honest pictures I have ever taken. It was my ‘f**k you’ to everything, and everyone who has ever hurt me, not been there, left me, judged me, and misunderstood this as vanity. It is me…… with nothing left, no makeup, no fancy clothes, no magic to make it all go away…. The white represents me washing the pretense away, a melting mask, to the real me beneath. Some days I still cant believe I took this picture, I never leave the house without any makeup, let alone post a huge photo on the internet. But this felt so right and so true, and I was so angry and upset when I took it, and past caring. I guess that shows in the glazed eyes, I had reached the end, and I felt there was nothing left anymore…….
As the days passed, my father stayed in hospital and got stronger, my brother took the weight and stayed with him as I simply couldn’t cope anymore. Once again I threw myself into my pictures and produced ‘The Unbearable Darkness of Being’ (see below). Looking back these appear so sad, but they are so honest, these were not poses for pretty pictures, they were me, and truly how I felt. No words could have ever summed these moments up, and it is times like this that I am so glad I pushed myself to do this.
Slowly things changed and moved on, and I found comfort in my fantasies once again. We had the heaviest snow in 18 years in the UK, and so naturally my immediate reaction was to run into the garden in a Victorian dress, and start taking photos at 6am! They make me smile so much because it is who I really am, I am 32 and have no intention of growing up. I hadn’t seen snow that deep in my whole life (it was past my knees) and so there was no way I was going to miss out on the opportunity for a picture!
And so they carry on….. these dreams. I’ve left the idea as an open set, something I dip in and out of when the emotion or moment sweeps me up or knocks me down. Sadly things have been really bad again recently and I have been unwell for almost a month. My grief seems to have come back ten fold, and I’m finding it very hard to cope if I’m honest. I have tried endless things, and am doing my best to make myself well, but it’s a slow process and I’m so tired from it all. Even this entry isn’t in my usual style, so tonight it has simply become my diary and nothing more….. this is how I am today, I’m hoping tomorrow will be better,……………. I miss her,……. I worry about my family,…….. and I look like absolute hell………
So its time I stopped writing, and let you see the pictures….. I’ll write something beautiful when I’m better, goodnight for now x

The unbearable darkness of being‘The Unbearable Darkness Of Being’

Self portrait with lace‘Self Portrait With Lace’

what remains‘What Remains’

what lies beneath‘What Lies Beneath’

The mothers widow‘My Mother’s Widow’

Due to rain‘Due To Rain’

self portait iwith chains‘Self Portrait With Chains’

self portrait with butterflies‘Self Portrait With Butterflies’

Untitled SelfUntitled Self Portrait

untitledUntitled Self Portrait

I also took a couple of picture of my friends, when I was tired of myself …………


I wish I could fly away from here, make it all stop…. I wish, I wish so badly….

Author Kirsty

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Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Kathleen Johnson says:

    I’ve visited a few times in the last year or so. The beauty of the rawness and vulnerability is cellular. Thank you for sharing.

  • Emily says:

    All the pieces you have created are so incredibly breathtaking. It’s also fascinating to discover the story behind each and every one of them. I’m sorry for the pain you have gone through but you channel it in such a beautiful way. I really admire how you have had the strength to reveal your emotions at such a difficult time (others may mistake this for vanity but they are so definitely wrong). I just hope you see how much strength, alongside pain, is in these images and thanks so much for sharing!

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