All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

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Behind the Lens #2: Hope

This week’s theme ‘Behind the Lens’ is a combination of photography and memory. Each day a random image will be plucked from my archive and – regardless of how good it is – showcased on the blog along with the story behind the image. Today, the image called hope that marked the end of my photography hobby.

Hope (Port Fairy, November 2005) © Addy

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Alfred Tennyson

This photograph was once described by my girlfriend as boring, uninspiring, monotonous, lacking in any aesthetic value, a complete waste of time and one of the many reasons she believed I should waste no more time on my photography hobby.

She may have been right. There are no curvaceous women, no point of reference, a somewhat obscure composition and little to hold people’s interest other than the seemingly endless sky as it plunges into the ocean below.

But when I look upon this image I see other things.

I see myself sitting on a beach in pitch darkness, a knife held to my wrist, as I contemplated slitting my wrists before wandering into the very section of ocean depicted here.

I see myself picking a stick from a crudely made fire and placing the flames against my skin in a vain attempt to feel something following a breakdown.

I see myself screaming into the night as I realized my life was over. That nothing would ever be the same again, no matter how hard I fought.

Photography is more than capturing a moment in time, space or place. It is a recording of emotion; of memory, dreams and life. When I took this photograph in late 2005 I was beautiful. I had a wonderful girlfriend, the beginnings of a social network, a job I was proud of and a whole life stretched out before me. Had I known what nightmares this beach would hold I doubt I would ever have taken the photograph, for no matter how many times I gaze upon it those hells have eclipsed the original emotion I was trying to record,

The emotion of hope; for my life, my mind and most importantly, for my soul.

A hope that was stolen by the winds of time and a few ill-timed words when I was most vulnerable.