Gallery: Dissociation Series

The series illustrates disrupted states of mind and stems from an interest in emotional and mental health, particularly the large range of sometimes elusive feelings we experience. For this reason the photographs are manipulated to distort what we expect of a portrait.

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Dissociation (or disassociation) is something most of us experience even if mild or short-lived. In clinical terms these states are described as disruptions to our normal way of being - in a sense all forms of illness are covered by this but it is usual to apply it to conditions when we feel 'outside' ourselves or are undergoing some form of reaction to stress. Often, but not always unpleasant, dissociation can occur at any time or be induced by psychoactive drugs and it is felt as a detachment from the environment around us. 

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The term originated in the latter part of the nineteenth century and is attributed to one of the first psychotherapists, the French philosopher and medic, Pierre Janet. The titles of the artworks are quotes from an early twentieth century medical textbook.

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I began work on these around 1997, they are not all linked especially to the idea of dissociation but rather to any form of unusual or intense state. Many from the first series were featured in Exhibit A magazine in 2000 but I did not make prints until several years later and then went on to complete a second series. All of the images are derived from a single collection of early photographs. More recently I created a small set using recently-posed photographs (Dissociation New Series).

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