I once had a growing migraine attack while lying in bed. That particular time I was surprised to sense tingling spreading across my limbs. I suddenly felt something pop in my head and pulse through me. Right then paralysis took me over like a wave would. I couldn’t move, couldn’t even open my eyes, couldn’t call for help. My mind was fully on but my body was no longer responding to its command. I was locked-in. It only lasted a short while but it was the most terrifying event of my life so far. In what started as an attempt to exorcise my angst, I decided to explore through photography the anguish I had felt during this episode.
Beyond my very personal connection to this work, I have always been drawn to contrasting juxtapositions. And I’m mostly interested in a growing realization that oppositions and contradictions are not always necessarily mutually exclusive. Reflecting on having been locked-in, I was fascinated by the idea that I had felt very much in motion qua brain while totally paralyzed physically. I set out to highlight those two opposite States of Being happening concurrently by representing visually the different stages of my incident combining multiple exposures digitally. I believe digital impressions would have been too sharp and crisp for the subject matter and I therefore chose to hand print the series as Van Dyke Browns. This antique alternative process gives the final prints a certain softness, fitting with my experience, which adds to the slightly surreal feel of the work.
This in turn also acts as an allegory for the complex and obscure link between our body and our mind – a connection we rarely truly deeply contemplate, except maybe on the days when it stops working properly.
All images and text © Anne-Laure Autin
By Anne-Laure Autin