Artist Seeks Self-Injurers
In 2012 I posted an advertisement on the community section of craigslist titled, “Artist Seeks Self-Injurers,” and began meeting with individuals who have engaged in self-harm. Liberated by the knowledge of our shared transgressive behavior, we talked about this taboo without fear of judgement.
I asked each individual to share stories about self-harm. These photographs were generated from their experiences and our exchanges.
Self-injury is a visual practice that creates a physical record on the body. Photographs and scars both relate to memory, and can override memory, and jolt memories up out of your consciousness. Like photography, the past is fixed upon a surface- the skin. The body becomes a record of emotions, experiences, and trauma.
The photographic sessions were meditative and intense. In public we were wary of being overheard, of being exposed. Secrecy is a characteristic of self-harm- and the act of photographing felt subversive. Ultimately, the process of photographing was a catalyst for my own and others’ healing processes. I found community and the belief that acknowledging difficult histories generates healing.