In Between Fear and Anxiety

This project was one of the first projects I had to create for my studies in university. We were presented with an option of one out of five different emotions: fear, sadness, happiness, confidence and lust.

I have been suffering from anxiety ever since I can remember myself and it had a big impact on my life. I have an understanding of the inner workings of it, both because I suffer from it and also because my mother works with people who suffer from PTSD and I have been surrounded by psychologists who specialise in treating anxiety my whole life, as they are my mother’s co-workers.

I’ve decided to use my own personal experiences and feelings and create images from them. Some examples for the images I’ve had are as followed:

Amber Light:

Amber Light

The idea for this image came about when I was asking my mother about the inner workings of fears and anxieties. She said that fear is like the amber light that alerts you that there is a danger approaching and you need to react, which then makes the body act with the three F’s: flight fight and freeze, which are represented by the reds and the greens. Greens represent flight and fight and reds are freeze. I used this theme and the colour scheme of greens and reds throughout the whole project to explain the reactions linked into the fears and their reactions.
Anxiety is what comes after that and is like a broken stoplight, blinking with an amber light even when there is nothing there.

Heights:

Heights

This image represents one of my biggest phobias, heights. I got inspiration for this one as I found the escalators on the tube in London to be terrifying and find them very difficult to use to the level I have to close my eyes whenever I use them, which is why this image is from a looking upwards prospective and not from the top looking down, as I physically could not do it. The image has a red hue to it as it has an immediate reacting for me which is to freeze.

Both of the two first images have motion blur in them because I wanted it to feel distorted and uneasy, which I achieved by having my shutter speed quite slow and moved the camera as I was taking the image. For the next 10 images, as most of them were shot in the studio with a flash, I chose not to use motion blur and rather use double exposure and layering to get the same impact. To create this I shot several different images and layered them one on top of each other using Photoshop, with some images being blending in to the background, to make them seem like they are there, but then they’re not.

Choking:

Chocking

This image represents the feeling of suffocation during a panic attack. It’s reacting to the heights image. It has no hue to is as the reaction has passed.

The Fear of Being Forgotten:

The Fear of Being Forgotten

This is my favourite image. It expresses a fear that I feel most people have, the fear of leaving this world and not having anything to remember them by. It’s dominated by greens because the reaction to it is to fight it, and create things so you won’t be forgotten. The double layer I used in this image was of grass and mushrooms to represent the body decaying and blending into the earth once it’s buried in the ground.

For the full project and visit Yam Kovatch Photography on Facebook.

For this project I took a lot of inspiration from Katie Joy Crawford’s project “My Anxious Heart”. I found it while researching for photographers who have dealt with the same subject. Her images are very hard hitting and were relatable to me, as someone who suffers from the disorder. Katie’s work can be found HERE.

The main image that was drawn directly from her interpretation is an image of myself screaming, titled “Attack”:

Attack

This image was meant to represent how I feel during a panic attack, I just want the world to be quite and stop for a minute. I felt that this image could not be expressed the way I wanted it to had I used models and had to model for it myself.

Overall I feel like i managed to bring my experiences into the images and transfer my emotions to the viewers. The viewing experience is meant to be individual and even though every image has a story behind it, I wanted to leave space for personal interpretation, and have the images provoke reactions and to bring out the viewer’s own personal fears, simply with making the image feel somewhat not right.

Of course there are things I would want to add or change, maybe give place to other images and maybe play around more with the idea of double exposure, however I do feel like this is a project I will revisit again through my career. For now, I am very pleased with it.

-Yam.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Chloe says:

    The images you have used clearly portray a message – Anxiety awareness. The images are clear and precise as to what they are without having to read what you have written. As someone who suffers from Anxiety and particularly panic attacks I feel very passionately about what I have just seen. I am in awe of you for using your own personal experiences and sharing them with the world. My favourite image here is the “choking” I feel that everyone can relate to this image as everyone has lost their voice or felt “choked” in some sort of way. There is a clear story and development through the images.

    Like

  2. MARYAM says:

    I enjoyed this post and these images a lot. I believe these photos alone allow me to experience these fear through your eyes. This is a wonderful representation of fear. Thank you for sharing your personal story of fear.

    Like

  3. Henrietta says:

    this is a really interesting selection of photographs. anxiety is something commonly talked about these days, and i feel that you have managed to convey the theme outside of conventional images one might see. i also thought it was interesting to look at the idea of legacy, and what we leave behind. that photo, and the model really stood out to me.

    Like

  4. Tiferet says:

    I first saw this project on your facebook page, and although the photos and title stand their own without explanation, this blog post was an interesting read. I like learning about artist’s inspirations, intentions and techniques. I looked at Katie Joy Crawford’s project you mention, and see how you drew inspiration from it, both thematically and technically, and I think you succeed in creating your own language with your project. It feels new and different from Katie Joy Crawford’s, your style here is less polishes and more chaotic, which I personally feel gives more opportunity for the viewer to connect with the image more deeply.
    Even though some photos are taken in a studio and some are taken on location, the photos successfully form a series. The layered blurry effect, as well as the exposure, the contrasts and the coloring, connect each photo to the look and feel of the series, and to the feelings of fear and anxiety.
    I think it is clever that you used the layering technique in different ways: in “Amber Light” and “Heights” the long exposure offers the perspective of the person suffering from fear and anxiety. The blur lets the viewer feel the dizziness of someone who may faint, or just can’t focus out of fear. In the other photos, the point of view shifts and we are looking at and in to the person who is afraid. The layering conveys the multi faceted nature of anxiety, the fleeting imagery of fear, and the impact of sensational overload that can be experienced in a panic attack. It also shows many things happening at once- something a person who is having an anxiety attack may feel.
    In every photo the technique is used a little differently, according to the idea behind the image: for instance in “The Fear of Being Forgotten”, the layering gives the illusion the the person is disappearing, as they fear. The same but different aspects of the photos creates an interesting series, which feels connected but doesn’t get boring.
    I am undecided about “Attack”. I agree with your decision to show yourself. The angle and composition work in telling the story. But I’m not sure your expression is chaotic enough. Perhaps you were aiming at a quite expression.
    I am interested to see more experimenting with double exposure and layering to express different themes, as well as this theme expressed with more techniques. It is clear that you put much thought and emotion in to your work, and your photos feel like the artist put a lot of themselves in to them, and yet they have room for personal interpretation and experience.

    Like

  5. I think this blog post does an excellent job of putting the reader in the writers shoes. Having very little knowledge on how this physically and mentally affects a person, this blog post really allows for the audience to feel what you are truly feeling, obviously not to the extent, but making people aware of the aftermath. The photographs you have applied to the text match up perfectly and really add to the feel of the whole thing which in incredibly intriguing. Overall, an incredible blog post and I appreciate you sharing something that must be very difficult to write and publish.

    Like

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