Photography by Donna Richardson
My photographs offer a narrative, although often ambiguous, a glimpse of a story, shifting on the edge of articulation.
There is often something obstructing a clear view in my images, creating an uneasy sense of being too close, or not being able to get close enough. It is rare to see an unobstructed view or a viable trajectory; there is always an absence.
In presentation my work is regularly displayed behind acrylic glass. A shiny surface, giving the images a slipperiness, an almost over exaggeration of the wateriness of many of the images, but perhaps the encasing behind a glossy surface offers a layer to hide behind, offering a barrier to the outside world. A place to be fortified within, looking into an almost-concealed world.
"Due to the brain damage I have since suffering a stroke in 2011 my brain frequently forgets to take notice of the left side of my world and favours the right. This is often apparent in my photographs and the image can be heavily weighted to the right.
This realisation led me to want to explore this phenomenon further and if possible find a way of communicating this to the viewer. So, for this series of images I felt confident enough to move towards a more landscape approach. My instinct led me to photograph the sea and explore the meditative effects of being on, in or near the water.
Wallace J Nichols writes (2011) "I wondered whether water is a mirror for our darker emotions as much as it is an engine for our happiness. Water quiets all the noise, all the distractions, and connects you to your own thoughts."
My experience of Flotation had a very positive effect on me both physically and mentally and led me to attempt to recreate this meditative experience by photographing the sea. After experimenting with many different techniques of recreating the effect of Hemispatial neglect I eventually settled on photographing the sea through a pane of glass smeared with Vaseline to blur and partially obscure the left half of the scene. I presented the picture printed onto acrylic glass, which gave the image a further watery dimension, I then had the piece framed in a floating Artbox from Whitewall which elevated the image to a beautiful object as well as a successful image. I was very happy with the result of this piece as it truly communicated my experience of Hemispatial neglect as closely as possible to the viewer.
The feeling I have while floating I am able to replicate in some way while photographing the sea and strangely I am reminded of why I would come to the water's edge all my life. Without knowing it I was allowing my brain to rest, to be stimulated without the constant chatter of everyday life. Being by the water was my own way of meditating without ever realising this was what I was doing."
Mounted in an Open Frame