Carousel

Red Velvet

Morris, 2017. Untitled #1

Chocolate Gingers

Morris, 2017. Untitled #2

Ready Salted

Morris, 2017. Untitled #3

Coca Cola

Morris, 2017. Untitled #4

Twix

Morris, 2017. Untitled #5

Pork Pie

Morris, 2017. Untitled #6

Carousel is a photographic study of the interrelationship between mental health and diet.

Questioning the role played by diet in contributing to or in alleviating medical conditions, the images represent bi-monthly entries from a journal maintained over a three-year period by a female suffering from anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia.

As the images begin to interrogate the role of nutrition in supporting the pharmacotherapy traditionally used to treat such conditions, the viewer is prompted to ask whether greater emphasis could be placed on nutrition as a means of not only treating mental health disease, but also preventing it.

This is both socially relevant and timely. It has long been held that we ‘are what we eat’. Clinical studies conducted by assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Colombia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Dr Drew Ramsey have now established the link between a nutritionally dense diet and mental wellbeing in addition to showing a correlation between a nutritionally poor diet and mental illness. Results of Dr Ramsey’s studies were presented at the symposium Food and the Brain in May 2016.

Selective focus leads the viewer’s gaze to the main subjects: items of food consumed by the diarist which are shown alongside the pharmaceuticals used to treat her medical conditions. A selection of self-help and recipe books related to the sufferer’s conditions complete the story of an individual struggling to live with debilitating illness. Sheets from a tear-off calendar represent the passage of time.

Constituting my current Work in Progress research project, Carousel is presented in monochrome and results in the slowing down of time, causing the viewer to pause and prolong their gaze.

Colour images can be associated with a particular era due to, for example, a particular type of film or method of post-processing that was en vogue at the time. Presenting images in monochrome removes such associations, bringing a quality of timelessness.

Furthermore, monochrome images accentuate highlights and shadows, a greater tonal range is quickly brought to the viewer’s attention. The resultant chiaroscuro adds a sense of drama which is particularly appropriate to the images of Carousel.

Justification for the use of black and white extends beyond the aesthetic. Working purely in tones enables one to concentrate more fully on other aspects of image-making, for example, lighting and composition in addition to developing a visual narrative.

In terms of aesthetic, images within the Carousel series have been subject to some experimental post-processing. This has not been undertaken simply to be seen to be doing something, but to be seen to be doing something different.

Whilst the use of textures is established in some genres of photography, it is seldom seen in food photography. This makes my use of textures to bring added richness and depth to my images quite unique. Keywords for the successfully integration of layers into images being subtlety, sparingly and appropriately.

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