Trisha Clancy Photography » Doha based photographer specialising in Portrait and Lifestyle photography for Newborns, Children and Families.

Come over to the dark side

I did a 365 project a few years back. It was an extraordinary experience and furthered my skills more than I could have imagined but of the hundreds of supportive messages I received, one particular comment from the community has stuck in my craw until this day. ” I love your work but your children always look so sad”. I was irked and irritated. MY KIDS ARE FINE THANK YOU (please don’t call social services). I was incensed that just because my son likes to give an Oscar winning sad expression when he steps in front of lens doesn’t mean that his life isn’t full of magical moments and happiness too. I was fuming that some virtual person could make that judgment about my precious flesh and blood from a picture.

It is dangerous for people to believe that the whole world must absolutely be perfect. Facebook is full of singing and dancing status updates chirping about how life is something equivalent to Goldilocks finding Little Bear’s porridge. It’s not. And if it was I would be horribly worried.

Time to get deep for a second. Hang in there. I’ve learned an awful lot about myself since my bipolar diagnosis a year and a half ago. One person that has influenced my journey is very interesting chap called Carl Jung. Jung has a theory that we we all possess a shadow and a persona. To cut a very long psychology theory short (sorry Carl), the persona is the “mask” we wear to give a certain impression our ourselves to society. Ever wondered why people have a telephone voice when ringing the bank or answering the phone at work? They want the other person to see them as their best possible self. Politicians are masters of the mask. Beware of them. They break wind and pick their noses just like the rest of us even though they want us to believe the squeaky clean exterior. The British Royals have a rock solid persona (only temporarily tainted by Prince Charles’ comments a few years back dissing a journalist which had the misfortunate of being made within earshot of the media. Oops).

The shadow on the other hand is the darker side we all possess. The bitchy element. The depression. All that we suppress to promote our persona is our shadow. Not even Mother Theresa got away with not having a shadow. We’ve all sworn under our breath at one time or another and wanted to swing a few right hooks. And that’s fine. We’re human after all. The problem arises when we forget our shadow and identify solely with our persona. The more we suppress, the more the dark side grows. This is when Darth Vader would make his entrance.

You see….I have a particular interest in B&W photography and exploring other emotions through my work other than the traditional “cheese” shot. Why should we smile in a photo if it isn’t instinctive? Who invented that rule? Why would we plaster on a grin if maybe deep down we are having the worst day ever? Don’t get me wrong….I love when my kids giggle and laugh but I never want them to believe that because of the pressures of society they have to be anything other than themselves.

So to the lady from that 365 project. Thank you for your concern but my beautiful funny, scowling kids have the courage to be themselves and that’s exactly the way it should be.

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