Please welcome first-time contributor Amy Collier, a third-year photography student who has been suffering with Anorexia for five years and has received various forms of treatment. Now in the process of recovery and starting to move on from the illness, Amy uses her photography to express how the illness has effected her life and to come to terms with living with mental illness. Her creativity is one thing that has kept her positive and motivated throughout her struggles and she hopes to build a career in the arts.
About these photos: “These photographs are from a series called ‘The Year Out’ based on my experiences during the year of 2013; a year which put me to the test in many ways and was something I never expected to have to face. We all think we are invincible, that ‘those things’ that happen to others do not happen to us, but for me this year took me out of my comfort zone more than ever before because I simply had to step back and give up control for a year. After just entering my 2nd year at university studying photography the illness which I had been battling with for years really began to spiral out of control for a number of reasons and by Christmas 2012 I had to submit to the inevitable and leave the life I had created for myself to return home, to take a whole year out just to focus on me, treatment, progress, and my health.
During this year I kept a blog, a journal, and used art and photography to document and express all I was going through. At the turn of the year at the beginning of 2014 it was natural for me to look back at this year of inner battle, personal victories and development and for me the opportunity to create work from this experience seemed the natural thing to do.
Working in a solitary way with only one other assistant, these self-portraits explore the feelings and thoughts I experienced during that year out. There are cyclical themes which re-emerge throughout the piece communicating notions of boundaries, confinement, escape and growth. For me the added craft of creating these images in the darkroom, making each print unique and further expressing individual involvement made the piece even more cathartic and draws together the images in a narrative form.”