Senior Art Exhibition opened today, feels amazing to see all my hard work finally completed.
“Vision is the key word here. Not noise. The title itself is a contradiction because today we are surrounded by so much noise that it is virtually impossible to detect any signals whatsoever in it. And even if we were somehow able to work our way through, then find or recognize the true signals, would we know how to respond?
—Jonathan Carroll on Neil Gaiman’s Signal to Noise
An overstimulation of the senses, both auditory and visually, is an issue that individuals may struggle with deciphering in their lives. With infinite numbers of simultaneous events occurring at every moment, overstimulation has the capacity to evoke feelings of uneasiness, stress, chaos, discomfort and even impending doom. These feelings of anxiety develop as a result of the inability to properly decipher the difference of the “signal” and the “noise” in our lives.
My photography has generally been documentary based, focusing on an examination of the landscape and interactions of the individual within that space. This body of work takes an introspective approach on an issue I’ve been dealing with for many years. When I was younger, anxiety attacks would randomly trigger for no reason at all. Merely sitting in a movie theatre watching a comedy would cause an anxiety attack and I’d have to leave. With time, I have recognized ways to gain control however; my new adventurous and curious nature would often reopen closed doors.
Photography is similar to the process of coping with anxiety. The image that you are trying to compose exists as “noise” until you as the photographer can make sense of the surroundings and turn it into a visual “signal.” When dealing with an anxiety attack, these chaotic signals being received as a result of the environment needs to be controlled. Numerous quick paced thoughts run through your mind similarly to all the simultaneous events occurring around you, which photography allows you to seize hold of as you press your finger to the shutter and capture that moment. It is the linked process of organizing the scenario, breaking down the noise and with it making sense of the situation to create a “signal.”
Through examining open landscapes I am depicting what I feel are the three stages of anxiety. The lowest set of images expresses the sudden onset of overwhelming feelings that often manifest as physical effects such as vertigo, tunnel vision and distortion. The middle is the realization of the situation and internal fight to clarify the sensory overload. The highest set is the experience in which the individual gains back control and clarity exists.