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Posts Tagged ‘shining’

A Cry From The Darkness

A self portrait that belongs to my Eternal Storm series, which explores depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail

Wow, it feels like FOREVER since I finished my last piece!  This year has not been conducive to creating art.  I’ve done my best despite the circumstances which kept popping up (moving, medications, long ME flares, devoting a ton of time to the gallery show, stress from my recent battle among other things) but it’s felt like a very dry year creatively.  All I can do is my best though, and even when the ME really cramps my style, I still manage to get pieces finished… just much more slowly than I would like.

It was in this depressed feeling of “I haven’t created anything in the longest time imaginable” that today’s image was born.  When my regular creative outlets are blocked to me (by, say, solid weeks of migraines as I adjust to each new medication dosage), I become despondent and depressed.  Life slowly loses its flavor and color and if I’m not careful, I’ll sink into a pit of despair just like Artax in The Neverending Story.  Luckily, I have Geoff and my friends and family around to cheer me on and make sure I never sink too low, but much of it is outside of anyone’s control.

As I mentally pictured how I felt, this was it.  A big, ugly cloud of despair, depression, worthlessness, swirling around my head.  But this time, unlike my last self portrait which explored a similar theme, I wanted to show a bit of hope at the same time.  The cloud is surrounded, penetrated and pierced by beautiful, golden rays of light.  They stream in through the darkness, weaving through its thick blackness.  The darkness cannot survive in the light.  It will be broken up and dissipate.  And while I know this will probably not be my last battle with depression, I also know that each round will eventually be over… and once again, the light will have won.  That is the hope I cling to when the clouds cover me.

I’d like to mention my friend and very talented photographer Robert Cornelius’s Dust to Dust series as it provided some inspiration in my planning out of the darkness cloud.  Thanks, Robert!  🙂  He’s an incredible photographer and all-around cool dude, so check out his work if you’re not familiar with it!

A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra - a self portrait

A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait

This image belongs to my Eternal Storms series on depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.  These topics are still seen as quite taboo to discuss, something I hope to help with by portraying what living with them is like openly and honestly.  Silence and shame never helped a single illness get cured.  We need to be able to speak openly about our experiences, without judgement or fear, if we’re ever going to healed from them.

A Cry From The Darkness

A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail

A Cry From The Darkness

A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail

 

Do you have depression?  Try being a little more honest next time a trusted friend asks how you are.  You don’t have to go into excruciating detail, but try to avoid the temptation to simply answer “fine,” unless you actually are.  And if you have friends or family who you suspect or know suffer from any kind of mental ailment?  Invite them to tell you about it, ask some questions, assuring them that talking to you is safe and you will not judge them or call them crazy.  It is crucial that you answer whatever they tell you with love.  It is incredibly hard for people to open up and talk to others about these problems, so take their trust very seriously and treat it with the gentlest and greatest respect.

A Cry From The Darkness

A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail

A Cry From The Darkness

A Cry From The Darkness © Sarah Allegra – a self portrait – detail

As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful for the help and support we have.  For the people dedicated to helping us win our fight.  For the people who will listen to us with only love and understanding in their hearts.  The people who give us hope.  The inner strength we are able to find when we think we’ve exhausted it all.  Those extra beams of light when we need them the most.  We need more people like this in the world.  Let’s try and all be them to each other.  The simple fact that there are people in the world who try to reach this goal is something I am very thankful for!

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Many years ago now. my good friend Alex sent me a mix CD of some of his favorite songs.   That CD worked its way into a very regular rotation of my driving music, and introduced me to many new artists who I have since grown to love.  One of those artists is Wax Mannequin, a Canadian, one-man, “strange-folk” musician wonder.  His music truly defies classification, and his lyrics have inspired many photos of mine already.

It was not surprising then when I found myself in the grip of inspiration listening to his new album, and Broken Friends in particular.  I will note that while the video faithfully produces the song, the accompanying video is remarkably inharmonious with the song, and I find it downright distracting.  But it does allow you to hear the beautiful music and words.

The lyrics are so deep, mysterious, and evocative that images immediately spring to mind whenever I listen to it.  Birds are, of course, nearly always present in these images, and the song has a healing feeling to me… the kind of healing that produces pain before it gets better (like cleaning a wound), but ultimately deep healing nonetheless.  I tried to reproduce a few of these with Katie recently, who completely got what I was trying to portray.  Very observant readers make recognize the white bird as an egret shot from my day at Bolsa Chica; in my opinion the most beautiful bird, hands down.

The lyrics we were paying closest attention to come at the end of the song:

There’s a white-hot bird shooting straight over everything
cutting clear through your body with its heart at your need
there’s a night sky bird settled there in the evening
you can sleep in her body, settle down now, settle down now settle down

And here are the photos with some detail shots!

White Hot Bird - detail

White Hot Bird

White Hot Bird - detail

White Hot Bird – detail

White Hot Bird - detail

White Hot Bird – detail

White Hot Bird - detail

White Hot Bird – detail

White Hot Bird - detail

White Hot Bird – detail

Night Sky Bird

Night Sky Bird

Night Sky Bird - detail

Night Sky Bird – detail

Night Sky Bird - detail

Night Sky Bird – detail

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