02 Jul Endurance
When I first started the series Hollow Being, I wanted it to be a very specific way in what I was saying to everyone. Working off and on with the series for the last year and a half, I realized that it was slowly speaking to me instead. I always find it so incredible that art can do that when you’re least expecting it. Endurance came to me in that way.
I have a dozen other images I made for this series that just didn’t feel right. They felt forced or like they didn’t fit in some way or another. I felt like I was trying too hard or making it into something that it didn’t want to be. I try really hard to not force things within my work anymore because I want it to happen organically to some degree. Endurance, the concept of it, came to me very naturally. Of course I went over different versions of this image, but in the end it basically directed me.
I woke up one morning and went over to my neighbors house and cut some magnolia flowers from his tree. I went into my bedroom, where this was photographed, and I started taping all of these petals to myself and even whole flowers. I wanted to make a chest-piece of some sorts and some shoulder guards from the flowers. My idea was great in my head but after taking the photo, it came out nothing like I wanted. The image itself was photographed too close and photographed too dark. From a standpoint of the image by itself, it really wasn’t a bad one. I actually liked it a lot but it didn’t fit well with the series and I couldn’t see it working in general.
That night I took some time to plan more. I knew I wanted the image to be more full body but I didn’t really want it to be too revealing. I took a good bit of time trying on different shirts, dresses, and skirts to see what would work well overall. I had a few things in mind and had more of a solid plan for the morning.
The next morning, I went over and cut more flowers from the tree just to make sure I had some fresh ones. I actually wanted them all to be fresh flowers but I really liked the idea of the “armor” being partially worn out. Since Magnolias are known for a wide range of things, I chosen the meaning Endurance and related it to depression and anxiety.
I looked at my own anxiety and depression and thought of how many times I wanted to give up. I can’t even count the amount of times I wanted to just be done with everything. I’m worn and tired but in the end I keep hanging on because I know with this illness I need to focus on one day at a time. I try really hard to not make permanent decisions based on my temporary feelings, especially feelings that “flair” up. Staying focused and setting small, medium, and large goals is very important to me and helps me to find purpose.
As I taped the flower petals to my chest, my shoulders, and my arms, a part of me said a small wish to each petal that I need to tell myself. “You’re brave. You’re courageous. You have a purpose. You are needed. You help others. You are kind. You are loved. You have the endurance.” As I placed my armor on my body, I started to take photos nude. Each photo was beautiful but still didn’t feel right. You couldn’t see anything so it wasn’t a modesty issue, it was something just didn’t fit with the rest of the series.
I tried really hard to make sure these images fit one another in some way and can link together or stand alone. I decided to put on one of my favorite vintage skirts and it’s like everything fit in place. It was a very eloquent and simple image. Not so surreal like the others in the series but it felt like it had it’s own purpose… like me. I have my own purpose and sometimes I can’t see that. Sometimes I fight the battles within myself to make sure I remember that.
Though my heart aches and I contemplate if I’ll ever experience a lifetime of happiness, this photo oddly means a lot to me. I hold close to my heart the unbloomed flower that holds so much potential. Much like the different stages of flowers spread all over my body, I too will bloom in time.
Carly DrewPosted at 12:29h, 03 July
Beautiful writing and this photo effortlessly speaks to your message – you can literally feel the work of the process and mindset it took to create it. I’m a firm believer that there is power in pain and the journey through it, every small cut is there to show you how to heal. They build you back up into something better than you could’ve ever been without experiencing it in the first place. Keep up the good work Sam!
SamanthaPosted at 13:00h, 03 July
Thank you, Carly! You taking the time to read and then write something really means a lot to me. I’ve been sitting on this image for about a month now and have enjoyed keeping it to myself for a short time. Over the years I have learned to enjoy my work for myself first before releasing. I used to be so quick to share and see what others thought of it but my priorities have changed a lot.
I agree with you on power in pain. I’ve used pain so much in my work over the years and I’ve made it a very bold point to never change that. I hope you have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing more of your work as well!