I’m up early this morning, feeling the morning sun streaming through my studio window. Its warm and bright and is the perfect way to start the day. My coffee is fragrant beside me and birdsong sounds flow from my garden. I am fortunate. This life I have carved for myself is one of beauty and love and while I have worked hard to get here, I know I have not had as many struggles as some.
Recently I was invited to participate in a photography project and exhibition call Loud and Luminous. This project had been developed by Hilary Wardhaugh and Mel Anderson, two highly respected photographic artists of Australia. To be invited meant sharing the concept and space with 55 other amazing women. The show was to celebrate the women in our industry and recognize the contribution of contemporary women in the photographic arts of Australia. How even through adversity we are here, we are loud and we are luminous.
I had been rolling around a concept shoot for a while, but never quite felt it was ready to shoot. I could see, I had my models ready but I could not yet actually feel it. I was waiting for something I didn’t know what yet. When I was invited by Hilary to join Loud and Luminous I knew it was the right time to develop this concept.
Hear No, See No is a visual representation of what it can feel like to live with Post Natal Depression. At the time my daughter was born, I never even considered the possibility my feelings of the time came close to what PND was. I had friends who were truly struggling with this and my own situation was nothing, I felt compared to how they were living. But 12 years on, I can look form a different perspective, and I understand I did struggle. I did isolate myself and I did shut everything out for a time. I’ve realized, that so many mothers (and fathers too) are silently struggling and suffering trying to make sense of this altered world around them.
This image, the first in the series, shows a mother closed off from the world around her. Headphones, and eye mask, a blank expression. Her baby cries, her toddler is making a mess, her house untidy and her husband glaring as he leaves the scene. This image is blunt. You don’t have to guess the narrative, you are not unsure of what is going on. Its right out there to see. As the viewer, it is in your face and disconcerting. And this is the point of this series. So often PND is hidden away behind closed doors and families pretend like it doesn’t even exist. My series is to bring it out into the open more, create unease, spark conversation and followed up by action.
We all struggle at times. And we all instinctively recognize the struggle in others.Let’ss talk about it, share it, help each other through it.
Being a part of the Loud and Luminous project has given my series a start. I am so very grateful to have been heard and counted amongst so many amazingly talented women. To share the exhibition with them is something I will never forget. I am sending my utmost thanks to both Hilary and Mel for organizing, and curating not only the exhibition but also the symposium, which accompanied the show. It has been a mammoth effort and an incredible result. It really does show we really are a powerful force when we come together and we should focus on strengthening that and getting our voices out to the world.
Loud and Luminous Exhibition. Images supplied by Hilary Wardhaugh.
PS: Loud and Luminous is showing at Brunswick St Gallery, Fitzroy, until March 13th.
And you should definitely check it out. It is amazing to see everyone’s works in print within that space. Once the show is finished these works return to their home and may never be exhibited together again.
PPS: The incredible Momento Pro have worked with Hilary and Mel to create a book of the show which will last longer than the exhibition. This book contains all the information about the Loud and Luminous project, all the works and artist statements and where to find us all.
Please note: Here No, See No is my own image submitted to the exhibition. Images taken of Loud and Luminous exhibition and opening have been provided and reproduced with permission from Hilary Wardhaugh. Please do not copy without written permission of the photographer.