The fifth photo shoot is based on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which has a lot more deeper symbolism for this shoots imagery. For the setting of this shoot I was unsure if it was best to do it in a forest or type of rural area. But for consistency with the other images I felt a studio setting was better and that I could just bring the elements to it. I had this image in my head for quite a while maybe before what I was sure of doing the project about.
Anxiety - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic stress disorder can be a severe anxiety disorder after a traumatic or very negative experience that results in psychological trauma. The event can involve either the individual seeing or being part of the incident. As some examples it could be the threat of death, rape, war, accidents or sever incidents such as abuse. This can cause the person effected to have an inability to cope with the stress. PTSD can cause flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of stimuli relating to the trauma, increased heart beat and breathing as well as difficultly sleeping even anger and hyper vigilance. It can be an on going illness and can last for long periods of time after the event. It has various degrees of sub-forms such as acute, chronic, and delayed-onset.
The props for this shoot were a little trickier to obtain especially the deer antlers. I tried contacting the The Scottish Deer Centre across the Tay to see if they would have any I could use or borrow. But after trying to contact them various times through emails, the inquiry page on their site and their Facebook page which they update regularly their was no reply. I kept an eye out for antlers everywhere I went from all the charity shops to karboot's, antique stores but not much luck. A classmate then suggested they had a pair of antlers they found hiking and had been in their cupboard for years and I was so lucky that she let me use them. Their so beautiful and more than I could of hoped for the shoot thank you for Lorraine.
With her permission I was allowed to alter them to make them to a degree wearable. I did some tests of trying to wear them laying down but they are a bit difficult to get the right angles with on their own. So I had to create a type hair band for them to be supported better and to be shot at the right angles. For better support modroc was used to keep them in place and to help them stay on the hair band. It worked out well enough since the antlers were quite light in weight.
As for the rest of the props for the shoot I had to obtain natural materials such as moss, grass, leaves, twigs. I collected this a couple of days before the shoot so the materials would stay fresh and not rot or grow mold. The only other prop was the arrow but I created that nearer the start of the project with just a light weight piece of wood and some blue feathers.
Setting Up The Studio
In the studio I placed the materials in a shape that would outline the body of the model and also on spare paper so the backdrop didn't get dirty. My last two models for the this shoot and the last shoot ended up finding it to difficult to make the shoots. I thought I wouldn't be able to complete the photo set and also in time to be sent away to be printed.
But with the help of Alastair we shot the two last shoots in one day. Both the models were going to be male and his face is hidden in this shoot so their is no repetition of the same person. Different people and equal gender count for the images was in place because of the themes in this work. I wanted the images to represent how anxiety can relate to everyone, male and female no matter what our identity. Other age groups weren't included because the project has been quite personal of the age I am just now and the people around me. But that it can effect anyone and we could have one or more of these disorders but in personal symbolic visual ways. Wanted to create these negative anxieties into hopefully beautiful imagery creating something positive out of the negativity of the illness's.
We did some lighting tests with the Soft boxes and the Strobe lights and some tests of laying in the space.
We also did some tests bringing in the props gradually to see how it would look and also for the framing the shot cause of the antlers.
Some of these shots I practiced taking the paper out of the image using Photoshop and some lighting.
We then went ahead and added the rest of the visuals such as the marks on Alastair's back and being tricky placing the arrow upright on his back.
Meaning Behind the Image
I have chosen the props and the type of scene for this shoot in ways I feel it relates to post traumatic stress disorder. For instance Deers in symbolism represent our fragile but resilient nature and spirituality. They are representations of our creativity and rural psyche and how it wanders and how they are secret like our thoughts. Having antlers relates to masculinity and having none relates to our femininity. I felt it was fitting to use a male model because of the masculine presence but also because antlers can refer to strength. But in this scene because this form has been struck down by an arrow that their are powerless. This adds to something that once was proud and strong but now their helpless.
The arrow is a representation of the traumatic experience the individual has witnessed or been apart of. That the arrow is marking them with the disorder as it stays and can mark us and is effecting our mental and physical health. Arrows in symbolism can mean 'thought' and are associated with being quick and deadly. That the arrow in this image is pointing downwards and struck the form has negative sub conscious meanings. Since it means 'thought' this is also a representation of the mental state of the person effected and with the feathers being blue adds to the melancholy.
The fauna that has been placed around the figure is a small representation of nature or a rural landscape. Forests represent the journeys within ourselves especially large dark forests with trees. This represents our minds and the subconscious since it is deep and things can be hidden like in our psyches.
I felt bringing all these elements together symbolically represents PTSD and that the scene portrays the disorder and its effects.
Possible Edited Final Pieces
These are part of the selection for final pieces these have been edited and toned, composition and lighting was experimented with.
The prints for everything are on their way now on the to next blog of the final shoot of the project.