Oxford Dictionary 2016 states fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” As explained by Julia Layton (2016) “fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response.” The amygdala is the part of the brain that is “responsible for triggering specific phobias” according to Phobia Statistics 2016.
Everybody has a fear whether it is big (for example a fear of death) or small (for example a fear of red ink).
In the contemporary society fears are created due to personal experiences, stories and anecdotes we have heard from others and the media. Many people would like to confront their fears. However are too scared to do so and thus leave them as a fear, untreated and allow them affect their everyday life. Even though there are a range of different treatments available to help confront and overcome fears, emphasised by Martin and Swinson (2000).
For this artefact I decided to create a portfolio of Fear Photography. My photographs are presenting common fears, left and not confronted. The intended audience for my photography is mature adults 23+ because my photographs are metaphorical and a younger audience would not be able to understand the symbolism; for example: the burning flower representing death. In addition I have used figures with pre-establish meanings, such as the Willow Tree figure for fear of love, which a younger audience also may not understand. I am hoping that my photographs will make the viewers think about their fears under another light and hopefully question their fears, reconsidering them, resulting in them wanting to confront and overcome them as well as help other people overcome fears.
In order to gain an understanding and insight into fears I conducted interviews with members of the society. In order to get a fair and valid representation and understanding, I interviewed a wide sample of people, ranging from seniors to children, male and female. Even though Statistics Fear Of Stuff 2016 states “females are more prone to irrational fears than males.” By conducting these interviews, I learnt that people have different fears. Something that may be a fear for someone could be a thrill and enjoyment for another person. For example: one person told me that he has a fear of heights, but another interviewee said her fear is darkness but she likes heights as they give her an adrenaline rush which she enjoys. In addition to the primary research of interviews, I conducted secondary research using online sources and by reading articles and books. The secondary research further developed my awareness on fears. Furthermore I found conducting interviews very useful whilst researching fear as it gave me a personal insight to how people feel and why they have fears. Some of the interviewees were willing to speak to me but requested for their interviews to not be made public. I have made the ethical decision to leave all interviewees as anonymous for their confidentiality. Admitting to a fear and revealing it is a very courageous and brave claim as it is a sensitive subject therefore shouldn’t be taken lightly subsequently I am leaving all the interviewees anonymous.
Whilst reading Phobic Disorders and Panic in Adults, by Martin and Swinson (2000), I discovered that there are many different treatments available to help members of the society overcome fears. To further develop my understanding on the treatments, I continued researching and found an online Encyclopaedia (2003) explaining the treatments. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is treatment in which “Cognitive therapists challenge fearful thoughts and replace them with more positive thoughts.” Psychodynamic Psychotherapy “is a psychodynamic therapy that aims to expose and reduce patients’ unconscious conflicts, increase patients’ understanding of their underlying thoughts, and assist patients to gain conscious control over their psychological conflicts.” Moreover group therapy is also a common treatment, where people discuss their fears and help each other overcome them, by sharing person experiences. Additionally, medication such as: clonazepam, alprazolam, sertraline and paroxetine, are also used to decrease fears and increase motivation. I found the notion of fear treatment very useful, resulting in me creating the aim of my Fear Photography to be persuade society members to overcome fears. In addition the quote from an interviewee stating a fear “stopped me from being myself” also made me strongly believe that fears effect the daily lives of people a lot and need to be overcome, in order to help people live as they wish and as themselves, strengthening my aim.
In order to gain inspiration and to learn how to present fears through photography, I created a mood board showcasing photographs of fear, which I had found online while researching Fear Photohraphy. This developed my knowledge on the style and genre of Fear Photography. The vast majority of fear photographs are dark or black and white as fear is a dark and melancholy subject. However I did not want to fully follow this convention, as I do not want to portray fear as a complete negative as that would be suggesting that a fear cannot be overcome and I strongly believe they can; therefore I have not made all my images dark. I have made my photograph of fear of the dark black and white as it is suitable for the topic of darkness and it is a broken bulb, hence the darkness. Nevertheless I have not made the other 5 images black and white. Yet I have give some of them a dark tone by editing their vibrance, levels, brightness and contrast; as I did not think it will be suitable to make the photographs too bright as it is a sensitive topic and needs to be dealt with subtly. I believe that my photographs fit in very well with the existing Fear Photography and could be exhibited along side the Marie Concilus (N.D) Fear Photography Collection. Marie Concilus is Photographer, who has done a large amount of Fear Photography; she is a great inspiration to my photography.
Whilst researching and creating the fear artefact, I have learnt a lot about photography and the subject of fear. The primary (interviews) and secondary (readings, websites, articles, videos) research has developed my knowledge a vast amount. I have learnt about different fears, the reason people have fears as well as how people can have their fears treated. In addition, I have developed my photography skills. I had not conducted professional photography of objects for almost a year; also I was doing this independently. Therefore in order to get the appropriate photography skills on angles, camera setting, lighting and composition; I had to watch many photography tutorials and read about how to capture the ideal image. The most useful photography tips were from Cnet 2012, and YouTube tutorials. I found the research very interesting; consequently I enjoyed creating the artefacts. Furthermore my passion for photography has also increased, as a result I will continue photographing objects that show a representation of sensitive topics; developing my photography portfolio.
The biggest struggle I had whilst creating the fear artefact was deciding what fears to chose to depict. I made the decision to depict the most common fears, as most people would be able to relate to them and consequently my aim of persuading society to confront fears and help other confront their fears would be more achievable. I used my primary and secondary research to inform me on what the most common fears are. For example Fear Of The Dark 2016 explains that “fear of the dark is one of the most common phobias,” and most people I interviewed said they have a fear of the unknown, therefore I have depicted fear of the dark and unknown.
To further develop my fear artefact into a more substantial piece of creative work I would take one or two of the fear photographs and produce a short film based on them. For my FMP I am considering to do this. I would use the fear of betrayal (Proditiophobia) and fear of love to make a short film on a lady who has a miscarriage and is told that she consequently cannot have children, as a result her husband will betray her and starts to abuse her. I will then develop the idea to show that after being abused by the husband, she develops a fear of love. As the aim of my artefact was to persuade society to overcome fears, I will then explore how she overcame her fears of betrayal and love.
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