Many times over the years I’ve shared my need to express myself through photography. I often do this to alleviate anxiety, but also to deal with feelings of grief.
Very often, I express this through still life photography. I’m not sure exactly what it is about this form of the medium that helps me to do this. It may be that I can control all of the aspects of a still life photo, whereas when you lose someone to death, you can feel very much out of control.
The lighting I use, for example, is something I control to create a darkness that swallows the subject and everything around it. That stands in stark contrast around, usually, beautiful flowers which represents life and fragility.
They Will Be Lost
My Great Uncle Frank passed away this past Easter Sunday. He was a prominent figure in my childhood growing up, and served more as a grandfather because he was the only extended family we had living here in Florida. My childhood was very rocky to put it mildly. We moved from New York to Florida in 1989 and lived with my Uncle Frank and his wife Nancy for a while until our moving truck found its way to our house.
Not long after we moved into our home, my parents divorced and set off a chain of instability that would plague my life into adulthood. However, the one constant was my Uncle Frank. My dad took my sister and I to visit once a week, something we continued after Dad’s death. Aunt Nancy would make us a great dinner. My mom was working two jobs, so a home cooked meal felt good. Being with my dads family felt good.
Fast forward more than 30 years, Aunt Nancy passed from Leukemia, and my Uncle had to move back to New York to live in the care of his children. I never saw him again. It is truly the end of an era for my family, and I have reached a point in my life that most reach farther down the line. That is the point when you can look at old family photos and almost everyone is dead.
Please take a moment to sign up for my articles in your inbox!
Now Kelsey and I are going to have a baby girl. She will never meet most of my family. Their memory exists only in my mind, and it occurs to me that if I don’t tell her who they were, then they will be lost to time when I am gone.
Final Thoughts on Still Life and Expelling Grief
The purpose of this quick life story was to convey to you what has been on my mind and heart, and what I was feeling when I took these photos. I’ve had a hard time expressing myself since news of his death, not even being able to cry as yet. Instead I used still life for expelling my grief.
It’s not easy to juggle the feelings of grief from death and the feelings of hope and excitement for a life soon beginning. That’s why photography means so much to me. The arts in general are so important for mental health. This one example, I think, shows that importance.
If you have found this article or any of my articles helpful, please consider supporting my work by clicking any of the links below. Purchasing a zine or even just subscribing to get my articles in your email helps me out. Either way, thank you so much for reading.
Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.
These are affiliate links to KEH Camera, Ebay, and Amazon. Simply purchasing through these links, you’re supporting my work with no additional cost to your purchase. It’s greatly appreciated.